Belfast Telegraph

Leon Reid out to shine before finding out if he can race for Ireland

 

By Brian Hill

Northern Ireland’s Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Leon Reid will have a busy weekend in the Irish Life Health Senior Athletics Championships in Dublin, where he will be contesting both the 100m and 200m.

The 23-year-old is immersing himself in this meeting to further support his case to switch allegiances from Great Britain to Ireland for future major competitions.

Reid, who won bronze in the 200m on the Gold Coast, is anxiously awaiting an imminent decision by the IAAF to see if the path is clear for him to compete for Ireland in next month’s European Championships in Berlin.

Given his form this year, Reid should have little difficulty in securing a sprint double at the Dublin meeting.

His main opposition in the 100m will come from Joseph Ojewumi of Tallagh and Ballymena’s Dean Adams, both of whom have significantly slower times than Reid.

Reid will have greater competition in his favoured 200m, where he will face St Lawrence O’Toole ace Marcus Lawler, who recently ran the second fastest ever Irish time of 20.4 seconds in Cork.

While this is still slower than Reid’s recent Northern Ireland record of 20.27 seconds, it adds up to a fascinating clash.

A total of 13 Northern Ireland athletes, including six in the marathon, have qualified for Berlin, with the Irish team due to be announced on Monday. It is unclear, however, as to whether they will all compete due either to illness or lack of form.

Lisburn AC’s Ciara Mageean has no such qualms as the European 1,500m bronze medallist is approaching peak fitness.

She recently recorded her third best time of four minutes and four seconds, while at Santry last week she ran a season’s best over 800m of two minutes, 2.13 seconds.

In order to further sharpen her speed for Berlin, the Portaferry woman may well aim for her sixth Irish title over the shorter distance.

QUB’s Emma Mitchell has entered the 1,500m but may decide to defend her 5,000m title.

The Banbridge woman will compete over 10,000m in Berlin, which is the event in which she broke her own NI record in the Commonwealth Games in April.

All eyes will be on two 18-year-olds from Northern Ireland who have excelled this year and are hot favourites for their events.

Finn Valley’s Sommer Lecky goes in the high jump following her outstanding silver medal in the World Junior Championships with a height of 1.90m.

And Beechmount’s Davicia Patterson should be unchallenged in the 400m following her Irish Junior record of 52.88 seconds, as new Irish record holer Phil Healy is not competing.

High hurdler Ben Reynolds and long jumper Adam McMullen have both qualified for Berlin and will be hoping to improve their recent average form.

Ballymena athlete Craig Newell could take a rostrum place in the highly competitive 400m, while Belfast’s Jason Harvey will face Thomas Barr — who placed fourth in the Rio Olympics — in the 400m hurdles.

Lisburn AC’s Amy Foster is a significant omission from the 100m. She took her sixth title last year but has barely raced this season following the Commonwealth Games.

Belfast Telegraph

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