Pollock is aiming for Games and Euro glory
THE debate over selection for this summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has intensified with the almost certain inclusion of Annadale's Paul Pollock for the 10,000m and the confirmed withdrawal of North Belfast's Breege Connolly from the marathon.
Pollock, who recently set a Northern Ireland record in the World Half Marathon Championships, produced another top performance at the weekend with a superb 10,000m track time of 28.32.18 in Stanford, California.
This was a mere .03 seconds outside Dermot Donnolly's Northern Ireland record set in Spain in 1999. More importantly the time is well within the Commonwealth qualification mark of 28.45.
This now clears the way for the doctor from Holywood to pursue his plan to race over 10,000m in Glasgow followed by the European Marathon 17 days later in Zurich where he will race for Ireland. Pollock's recent classy results illustrate that he is well capable of coping with such a demanding double in a short period.
Unfortunately the Northern Ireland team for Glasgow will not now include top marathon runner Breege Connolly.
The 36-year-old had achieved the Games mark (2.40) when she ran 2.39.27 in London a year ago.
However Games eligibility rules require all competitors to prove they are eligible for a UK passport.
Breege hails from Donegal and would not have been able to apply for a UK passport without embarking on a lengthy process to establish her eligibility.
She explained that she had decided not to pursue this option particularly as there was no guarantee that she would eventually be selected for the Games.
This still leaves two Northern Ireland athletes who have qualified for consideration for the marathon. Tom Frazer of St Malachy's (PB 2.17.45) and Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast (PB 2.39.26) are among eight athletes who have already reached the necessary Games standards.
The final qualification deadline is the NI and Ulster Championships on June 7.