Belfast Telegraph

Sprinter Leon Reid WILL get the green light to complete Ireland switch

 

By Brian Hill

European Athletics will accept an application from sprint star Leon Reid to compete for Ireland in their championships in Berlin, starting on August 7.

This major development follows hot on the heels of the statement by the IAAF that it had set up a Transfer of Allegiance Review Panel to consider cases quickly before forthcoming major championships.

One of these involves NI Commonwealth bronze medallist Reid who has been campaigning to be allowed to transfer from Great Britain to Ireland.

Reid meets the stringent new criteria requiring an athlete to wait thee years and have full citizenship of the country to which they wish to transfer to.

Athletics Ireland have this morning announced their team for the European Championships and provisionally includes Reid's name. Northern Ireland athletes Ben Reynolds, Kerry O'Flaherty and Davicia Patterson have also been selected.

The acceptance of his name by European Athletics is a major step forward with Leon's final clearance to be determined in the next few days.

There is every expectation that the panel will endorse the transfer request. A happy Reid said: "My transfer request has been a long and stressful wait.

"This has been a busy few days with my 24th birthday, competing here and waiting for a phone call about my transfer which finally came.

"I am optimistic that the IAAF Review Panel will accept my case as I meet all their requirements."

This major distraction for Reid certainly did not affect his performances at the Irish Life Health Senior Championships at the weekend in Dublin where he achieved the sprint double.

His 100 metres win in a classy time of 10.42 seconds against a strong headwind appeared relatively easy.

He was, however, stretched the whole way in the 200 metres by Marcus Lawler of St Lawrence O'Toole who led the entire race bar the last 20 metres.

Reid then edged clear to take the victory in a fast 20.74 with Lawler timed at 20.79.

European bronze medallist Ciara Mageean also secured a double victory in the 800 and 1,500 metres despite an interval of just 75 minutes between races.

The Portaferry woman took the two-lap race with ease after bursting clear in the home straight in a time of just under 2 minutes 8 seconds.

She then won a tactical 1,500 metres in 4 minutes 23 seconds. Ciara explained that the purpose of two races was to build up her stamina for Berlin.

There were other notable victories for Northern athletes, the most impressive being Emma Mitchell's successful defence of her 5,000 metres title.

The QUB woman got the better of long-term leader Shona Heslip, recording her second fastest ever time of 15.59.64.

Emma also took bronze in the 1,500 metres.

Belfast's Stephen Scullion won the 10,000 metres in 29.25.31, some nine seconds ahead of Mick Clohisey.

City of Derry's Adam Kirk-Smith won the steeplechase in 9.02.09 while Lagan Valley's Jai Benson was second in the triple jump with 13.89 metres.

Adam McMullen of Crusaders took yet another long jump title with 7.68 metres.

High hurdler Ben Reynolds of North Down will be disappointed at having to settle for silver behind Carrick's Gerard O'Donnell who won in 14.05.

There were bronze medals for James Kelly of Finn Valley in the shot (14.83 metres), Sarah Connolly of North Down in the high jump (1.60 metres), Connall Kirk of Annadale in the 800 metres (1.51.72), Craig Newell of Ballymena in the 400 metres (48.16) and Jason Harvey of Crusaders in the 400 hurdles (51.99) in a race won by Thomas Barr in a Championship record of 49.58.

Belfast Telegraph

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