Nick Griggs runs solid seasonal debut in Spain

The Tyrone teenager has his sights set on next month’s European Athletics Championships in Rome

Nick Griggs Jerusalem .JPG
Nick Griggs is aiming to qualify for next month's European Athletics Championships in Rome

NICK Griggs eased into his first outdoor season as a senior athlete with a sound opening race at the Ibéroamericano Meeting in Huelva, Spain.

In cool and wet conditions, distinctly unusual for Andalusia at this time of year, the 19-year-old Tyrone athlete finished sixth in a stacked 1500m won by World Championships bronze medallist Narve Nordas in 3:34.11.

Griggs stopped the clock at 3:37.38 after being in the chasing group for most of the race.

Griggs has stated that his main target this summer is next month’s European Athletics Championships in Rome.

However, with 30 places already filled, he needs a qualifying time of 3:36.00 before May 26.

Griggs went close last year when he ran 3:36.09 in Nice but there is a further complication for him in that other Irish athletes are already in the queue ahead of him for the maximum three places to represent Ireland.

Andrew Coscoran (3:30.42) and Luke McCann (3:34.76) have qualifying marks, while national champion Cathal Doyle ranks higher than Griggs on the points table, the latter being now irrelevant as 31 athletes have already bettered 3:36.00.

So, for Griggs to obtain his ticket to Rome in the 1500m, he will not only have to run the standard but also register a time faster than Doyle.

The Mark Kirk-trained athlete is expected to be in action again at the Belfast Irish Milers’ Meeting on Saturday, May 11 when he is down to run the 1500m.

No doubt meeting director Eamonn Christie will have his hares lined up to assist Griggs in his pursuit of that elusive European standard.