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Ulster quartet hoping to make a big impact on the World stage

 

Starting line: Letterkenny's Mark English is ready to go in the 800m
Starting line: Letterkenny's Mark English is ready to go in the 800m

By Brian Hill

Ulster athletes make up half of the small eight-person Irish team that will be competing in the IAAF World Championships, which start in Doha this evening.

Letterkenny's Mark English (800m) and Finn Valley's Brendan Boyce (50k walk) are both competing this weekend, while Portaferry's Ciara Mageean (1,500m) and Belfast's Stephen Scullion (marathon) will be racing next week.

English (26) was unhappy at only receiving an invite at a very late hour as one of the athletes who had just marginally failed to make the qualification standard.

The European Indoors medallist just missed the 800m time by 0.14 seconds but had to wait a week longer than others for his participation to be confirmed.

He will be disappointed if he does not reach the semi-finals as he has beaten all of the top Great Britain runners this season.

Boyce will be competing in the early hours of Sunday morning due to the extreme heat in Doha. His time of three hours, 48 minutes and 13 seconds when finishing fifth in the European Cup last May is some 10 minutes inside the Doha qualification mark.

Thomas Barr, who finished fourth at the Rio Olympics, goes in the 400m hurdles tonight.

Meanwhile, there are strong fields in tomorrow's Bangor 10k (10am start at Castle Park).

The men's line-up includes many who took part in the Belfast Half Marathon last weekend, including winner Gideon Kimosop, who will be going for a hat-trick of victories.

Northern Ireland 5,000m and 10,000m record holder Emma Mitchell should have little difficulty in taking the women's title.

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