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Reynolds leads the Ulster charge in Irish Euro bid



On track: Ben Reynolds has hopes of high hurdle glory

On track: Ben Reynolds has hopes of high hurdle glory

©INPHO/Sasa Pahic Szabo

On track: Ben Reynolds has hopes of high hurdle glory

Twelve Ulster athletes will compete as part of a strong Irish team over the next three days in the First League of the European Team Cup in Vaasa, Finland.

Many of the Northern Ireland athletes have already qualified for next year's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The competition, which starts at noon tomorrow, comprises 12 countries, with the Irish traditionally holding their own against strong opposition. Ireland will target a top-six place.

Ulster athletes will be to the fore from the start with North Down high hurdler Ben Reynolds featuring in the very first event.

The 26-year-old Holywood man is expected to do well as he is faster than his rivals this season with a time of 13.67 seconds.

Hot on his heels will be Lisburn AC's Amy Foster in the 100m. Ireland's top sprinter has a very fast 11.42 seconds to her credit this year and will be hoping for a top-three place.

Later, Ballymena's Christine McMahon will be out to improve her season's best of just over 58 seconds in the 400m hurdles.

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There will also be big hopes this weekend for new high jump star Sommer Lecky.

The 16-year-old Finn Valley sensation - the youngest member of the Irish squad - has broken many long-standing age group records this season. Lecky's PB of 1.85m ranks her third best in Finland.

Ulster's European medallist Mark English will start as favourite in the 800m following his recent World Champs qualifying time of 1:45.02.

Other Ulster aces include Adam McMullen in the long jump and hammer thrower Dempsey McGuigan, both ranked fourth in their respective event.

Also in action will be Banbridge's Emma Mitchell (1500m), while Newcastle Olympian Kerry O'Flaherty is in the steeplechase. QUB's Christian Robinson and ex-North Down athlete Andrew Mellon are in the 100m and 400m relays respectively.

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