Belfast Telegraph

Ben Reynolds on a high after new record

By Brian Hill

Belfast high hurdler Ben Reynolds produced a superb performance in the big Mary Peters International at Upper Malone when he smashed his own NI record of 13.71 secs set only three days ago.

His new record of 13.49 secs is a world championship qualifying time and ranks the Windsor athlete second on the Irish All Time list.

Reynolds, 21, finished ahead of Birchfield's Julian Ortiz who also set a PB of 14.02secs. Ben said he knew he was in the form of his life when he set the record in Dublin at the weekend after a poor start. This time everything went to plan in perfect weather conditions.

He paid the ultimate compliment concerning the new Mary Peters track by saying it was "on a par with the Olympic stadium in London".

When asked about his future plans Reynolds said the possibility of now going to the World Championships in Moscow overshadowed everything.

The Holywood man played tribute to brother Tom who as coach had played a key role in ensuring he reached a level where he feels he can now compete with some of the best in the world.

Reynolds also indicated that he considered his case should now be reviewed for lottery funding. This had lapsed because of indifferent performances because of injury following Istanbul. Meeting organisers said this would now be given early consideration.

Australian 1,500 metres champion James Kaan was the class act in the 800 metres which he won in 1.49.49. Ireland's Jennifer Carey took the 400 metres in 54.34 secs just marginally ahead of team mate Sinead Denny.

This was a highly successful opening meeting at the revamped Upper Malone venue which equalled in excitement the big internationals held at this venue in the 1980's. Organisers were delighted that they now appear to have a superb extra fast track which will have little difficulty attracting international athletes in the future.

Top Irish sprinter Amy Foster also proved to the large crowd at last night's meeting that the £3.5m expenditure was fully justified. The super fast track resulted in her equalling her NI joint record in the 100 metres with a time of 11.49 secs.

Amy finished ahead of Scotland's Sarah Adams who was timed at 11.89 secs. The Lisburn AC athlete's performance was particularly notable coming on the back of a strenuous weekend in the European Team Championships.

She commented: "I knew I was in good form as I was leading at 60 metres last weekend. I am now in a really good place for the World Student Games in Russia next week. I last equalled the record 2 years ago in Dublin and I am determined to set new figures soon".

Paralympic champion Jason Smyth (below) enjoyed an easy victory in the Men's 100 metres which he won in 10.50 secs from Liverpool's Oliver Back (10.77 secs). Afterwards he said: "I didn't start well but I was pleased enough with the rest of my race. Conditions were thankfully a lot better than last weekend. This is my third race in 10 days but I have trained all Winter for this. I will be taking things easy until the Irish Championships "

The Men's 1,500 metres lived up to its expectations as the highest quality event of the day. The pace was well under four minute mile schedule from the gun and resulted in a first class winning time of 3.37.18 by Australia's Collis Birmingham. There were a string of PB'S behind him including the Ireland pair of Paul Robinson (3.37.66) and John Colgan (3.42.97).

In the Women's Pole Vault Finn Valley's Tori Pena set a NI All Comers record of 4.30 metres. Commonwealth Games bound Zoe Brown was 2nd with 4 metres.

England's Rory Evans won a highly competitive 400 metres in 46.47 secs from Scotland's Kris Robertson (46.91 secs) Commonwealth qualifier Jason Harvey was 3rd in 47.68 secs.

Belfast Telegraph


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