THE 61st Cork City Sports Pre-Olympic International athletic meeting has reverted back to a night time meet on Tuesday July 17 at 6pm with the return of the mile race one of the main events on the night.
For the past decade or so the event took place on a Saturday but Cork City Sports chairman Tony O’Connell believes the return of the meet to a tradional nightitme event will see record numbers attend the pre-olympic event at the CIT Athletic Grounds.
“We are very confident that fans will turn out in large numbers for our 61st sports meet on Tuesday July 17,” Tony O’Connell said.
“From speaking with sponsors and fans of the event we are confident we can attract a very large crowd to the event which takes place just over two weeks before the Olympic Games begin in London.
“Consequently, we are hoping to have a fantastic field of Irish and athletes who are bound for London compete at our meet. Last year we had competitors from more than 37 different countries compete and this year we expect more.
“We have brought back the traditional linear distance of one mile instead of the more standart 1500m distance which features on many of the current international track and field programmes.”
As this year’s sports are on just two weeks prior to the start of the games, all Olympic teams will have been selected and the need to attain qualification times will not apply by mid-July.
The organisers are hoping that several of these Olympic bound athetes will travel to Cork to fine tune their competetive tactics and for some who missed out on qualification they will be seeking to run a fast time and put in a winning performance by way of compensation in Cork.
The four lap event so popular in Cork over 20 years ago featured legends such as John Walker, Steve Ovett, Eamon Coghlan, Steve Cram, Marcus O’Sullivan and Sidney Maree from the USA, who is the reord holder at the distance in Cork with a time of 3:49 :44 set in 1982.
A top class field is been ssembled for this year’s Cork mile including Australian Ryan Gregson, a 3:53 minute miler, Jeff Riseley, who has run 3:51 and Britain’s Andy Baddeley, who has a pb of 3:51 in the mile.
For Cork race fans Macroom’s Ciaran O’Lionaird, who is just returning from injury will welcome the opportunity to test himself in this elite company as he winds down his preparation for London 2012.
Former 1500m winner in Cork David Campbell and the in-form Paul Robinson will also keep the Irish flag flying and other top athletes scheduled to compete are Russell Brown, Brian Gagnon from the USA, Jon Rankin, Caymen Islands, Ross Murray from England, Peter Van Der Westhuizen from South Africa and Canada’s Taylor Milne will complete the field.
Leading Irish athletes Robert Heffernan, Fionnuala Britton, Paul Hession, Ciaran O’Lionaird, Orla Drumm, Ciara Mageean, Marian Heffernan and Waterford’s Kelly Proper will be amongst the star-studded field that will compete at the 61st. Cork City Sports Pre-Olympic International Athletic meeting at the CIT Grounds on Tuesday July 17th at 6pm.
Speaking at the official launch of the event, which took place at the Lord Mayor’s chamber in City Hall before sponsors, guests and athletes, Cork City Sports chairman Tony O’Connell was thrilled that this year’s event looks like being the best yet with so many top athletes looking to run in Cork.
“The 61st Cork City Sports International Pre-Olympic meeting is shaping up to be the best ever,” Tony O’Connell said.
“Not alone are most of the top Irish athletes confirmed to run, but other top International athletes who are expected to compete in Cork include Ryan Gregson (Australia), Travis Padgett (USA), Danny McFarlane (Jamaica), Jamie Nieto (USA), Fabrice Lapierre (Australia), Sheri-Ann Brooks (Jamaica), and Tracey Andersson (Sweden).”
“Travis Padgett, Paul Hession, Gerald Phir (Zambia), David Hynes, Marcus Lawlor (Schools champion), and Jared Connaughton (Canada) will all compete in the men’s sprints. In the mile athletes of the calibre of Ryan Gregson, Jon Rankin, Paul Robinson, David Campbell, Russell Brown, Ross Murray, Taylor Milne, Ciaran O’Lionaird, Peter van der Westhuizen, Brian Gagnon, Zane Robertson, and Andy Baddeley are set to do battle.”
The men’s 3000m race is also expected to be a very fast race with Collis Birmingham and Ben St. Lawrence (Australia), Will Leer, Jordan McNamara and Craig Miller (USA) , as well as Jake Robertson (N.Z) confirmed starters.
Barbara Pierre (USA), Ivet Lalova (Bulgaria), Kelly Proper, Cork’s Ailis McSweeney, Catherine McManus, and Alie Israel (USA) will battle it out in the women’s sprints, while in the mile Zoe Buckham (Australia), Gabriele Anderson (USA), Margherita Magnani (Italy), Orla Drumm, and Ciara Mageean go against each other.
In the 3000m European champion Fionnuala Britton will compete against Janet Kisa (Kenya), Eilish McColgan (Scotland), and Katie Mackey (USA).
The Cork City Sports Committee wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Irish Sports Council, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, City of Cork VEC and the Cork Sports Partnership.
We also gratefully acknowledge the co-operation of the Athletic Association of Ireland at national and local level.
The Lord Mayor of Cork Terry Shannon officially launched the 61st Cork City Sports International Pre-Olympic meet in front of fellow councillors, Cork City sports committee members, athletes and sponsors at the Council Chambers in City Hall yesterday.
The 61st Cork City Sports Pre-Olympic International sports meet will take place at the CIT Athletic Stadium on Tuesday July 17 at 6pm.