Athletes ready to light up Odyssey
More than 1,000 athletes will take part in the Woodie’s DIY Irish Indoor Senior Championships at the Odyessy Arena.
The competition in Ireland’s only indoor hydraulic 200-metre running track, will be staged on Februrary 19 and 20 and will play an important part in the selection of the Irish team to take part in the European Indoor Championships in Paris.
Members of the NI Commonwealth Games athletics team helped launch the event including Tom Reynolds (North Down) and Joanna Mills (Ballymena & Antrim).
Also present were Mark Patterson (North Down) who has been preparing for the indoor season from his base in Loughborough.
He made the 800m semi-finals at last year’s World Junior Championships in Canada.
Portaferry’s Ciara Mageean (City of Lisburn) has confirmed her appearance after a year which saw her winning a World Junior Silver medal in Canada, reaching the final of the 1500m at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and finishing seventh in the recent European Cross Country Championships.
The versatile Mageean will be competing at the Millrose Games indoor meeting at Madison Square Garden next month en route to the Odyssey in a bid to retain her title and gain a place in the Europeans.
Tom Reynolds ended the Commonwealth Games decathlon in Delhi in ninth place with 7210 points, his second best score to his 7270 earlier this year.
He set a new 100m personal best, a season best at 400m and in the pole vault (4.60m). Joanna Mills was part of the youthful 4x400m relay team which competed in the Games and is looking forward to the indoor season.
“I love when the Irish Indoor Championships come around every year — it is a unique opportunity to compete in the Odyssey Arena and the atmosphere is always really good!” she said.
Funding partners include Belfast City Council and the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Pat Convery, said he was thrilled the event was being staged in the city.
“Belfast City Council is dedicated to the development of sport,” said Councillor Convery.
“We are proud to support this event and are pleased to be working in partnership with Athletics Northern Ireland and the Athletic Association of Ireland to deliver what is now a highlight in our city's sporting calendar.”
Among the sponsors are Pemier Inn hotels.
The event website, www.indoorathletics.net, provides all competitors and spectators with up to date information on the event.
Online entries are now now open for the seniors and the juniors.
Tickets are also available to purchase from Ticketmaster or through the Odyssey Arena.