Belfast Telegraph

Marrs and Reynolds give NI's hopes of World success a lift


By Brian Hill

Athletics NI officials are celebrating after Belfast's Megan Marrs and Holywood's Ben Reynolds were selected for the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham next weekend.

The duo's selection means that there are now an unprecedented four Northern Ireland athletes competing in the Championships after Ciara Mageean (1,500m) and Amy Foster (60m) were already named in the Irish squad.

Both Marrs - who will represent Team GB alongside Marilyn Nwawulor - and Reynolds - who will be racing for Ireland - will be competing in the 60 metres hurdles event.

Marrs' selection represents the first time a Northern Ireland athlete has achieved GB recognition at World Senior level since the selection of Larne's 800m runner James McIlroy for the World Indoors in Valencia back in 2008.

The 20-year-old Loughborough student has won numerous Northern Ireland and Irish age group titles in the past in the outdoors 100m hurdles. She also competed for the GB Junior team in the sprint relay at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Poland.

However, her best outdoor time last August of 13.51 seconds was insufficient to qualify for this year's Commonwealth Games. Since then, a new training regime in Loughborough has produced eye-catching results this year in the form of six indoor personal bests in the space of five weeks .

The real game changer for Marrs came last weekend when she easily won the British title in Birmingham in another Northern Ireland best time of 8.16 seconds, which placed her second on the current GB list behind Nwawulor.

The Lisburn AC athlete will now be competing in the big televised Grand Prix meeting in Glasgow tomorrow.

An ecstatic Marrs said: "I am absolutely delighted with my selection. It was entirely unexpected. I am now looking forward to the Worlds and hope that I can do myself justice both in Glasgow and in Birmingham."

Athletics NI coach Tom Reynolds said: "Megan has always possessed the talent to compete on the World stage and we are delighted her transition to Loughborough has been a successful one."

The selection of Ben Reynolds came as a surprise as his best time this year of 7.87 seconds is short of his fastest times last season. However, the 27-year-old has ample experience at World level.

He was at the World Outdoors in Beijing in 2015 and the World Indoors in Istanbul in 2012.

Belfast Telegraph

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