Athletics

Northern Ireland athletes hitting Commonwealth Games targets

Sommer Lecky soared to new heights at the Ulster Schools last weekend, setting in the process a new national youth (U18) record and equalling the national junior (U20) mark
Malcolm McCausland

THE selectors may face a headache when they sit down this autumn to pick Northern Ireland's athletics team for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia next spring.

Two more athletes have met their respective consideration standard in the past fortnight to bring the total to six.

Adam McMullen bettered the long jump requirement in Florida, before Emma Mitchell ran a consideration standard and NI record time over 10,000m in London.

Sommer Lecky equalled the required high jump mark at the Mary Peters earlier in the month but soared to new heights at the Ulster Schools last weekend, setting in the process a new national youth (U18) record and equalling the national junior (U20) mark.

No number has yet been set for the number of spots available for the Gold Coast but informed opinion believes it to be about 10.

Dempsey McGuigan (hammer), Paul Pollock (marathon) and Amy Foster (100m) had already achieved consideration standards but as many as another nine or more could qualify before the September 30 cut-off.

These include Kerry O'Flaherty (steeplechase), Ciara Mageean (800m/1500m), Tina McMahon (400m hurdles), Laura Graham, Stephen Scullion and Kevin Seaward (marathon), Ben Reynolds (110m hurdles), Leon Reid (100m/200m) and Adam Kirk-Smith (steeplechase).

Athletes are being asked to do the standard twice, except the marathoners, multi-eventers and 10,000m runners. The second benchmark will be a percentage comparison of their performance against the required consideration standard.

Applying these two principles means that two Finn Valley athletes top the listings. Dempsey McGuigan has bettered the hammer standard twice, as has Lecky (right). The London-based thrower scores a massive 103.45 per cent for his 70.55m throw in California last month, with the Castlederg teenager next on 101.65 per cent.

Paul Pollock, who achieved the marathon standard in February, and will not be asked to repeat it, follows on 100.89 per cent and is just ahead of Emma Mitchell, whose 10,000m last weekend was worth 100.72 per cent.

Adam McMullen only has one consideration standard but is the best of the rest on 100.90 per cent, ahead of Amy Foster's 100m performance in Australia, which was worth 100.18 per cent.

One of the conditions for nomination is that athletes compete at the NI & Ulster Senior Championships on June 10 unless there are exceptional reasons and circumstances for absence. This competition also serves as the trials for the Manchester International which should add interest to the event.

Athletics

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