An exciting new meet on the athletics calendar is shaping up to be a top class event with some of GB and Ireland’s athletes confirmed. The Brian Downing Memorial International takes place on Wednesday 18th July (7pm) in the Antrim Stadium, organised by Athletics NI and Lagan Valley AC in conjunction with DCAL and Sport NI.
The Brian Downing Memorial International takes place on Wednesday 18th July (7pm) in the Antrim Stadium, organised by Athletics NI and Lagan Valley AC in conjunction with DCAL and Sport NI. Highlight of the meet will be witnessing top athletes taking part from the Athletics Olympic Pre-Games Training Camp in Antrim.
This includes London bound athletes from Qatar, Egypt, Oman and Djbouti and gives local athletes an opportunity to compete with some of the best and experienced athletes in the world such as middle distance athlete Ayanleh Soulieman likely to make the final at the Olympic Games.
Souleiman from Djbouti under the wing of world class coach Jama Aden, stormed onto the world athletics scene with a 1500m mark of 3:30.31sec set in Hengelo in May. The 2012 World Indoor finalist will line up against Jurkevics Dmitrijs (Latvia) who has a best of 3:37.35 and Dave Proctor (Sale Harriers). Local athletes include Eddie McGinley, Andrew Agnew, JP Williamson, Mark Patterson and Clonliffe’s Shane Fitzsimmons.
The 800m has two of Aden’s athletes; Musaeb Bala (Qatar) who has a PB of 1:45.19 from this year and Mohamed Hamada (Egypt). Niall Brooks (Sale Harriers) and Ed Aston (Birchfield) join locals Conal Kirk, Patrick Monaghan and James Leddingham of Waterford. In the women’s race NI champion Kelly Neely will race Irish champion Siobhan Eviston (Raheny), Claire Gibson who recently won the BMC Grand Prix and also and Erin McIlveen.
In the Men’s 400m, five runners ranked in the 2012 Irish top 12 are racing including Paul McKee, Jason Harvey, Dara Kervick, Chris Russell and John Houston. All have had a fantastic season and it will be interesting to see if veteran McKee can hold off the challenge from his coaching group. However Ahmed Al-Merjabi of Oman has a PB of 45.84 and should easily take the title.
The Women’s 200m promises to be a great race with 400m World Junior semi finalist Joanna Mills lining up against Amy Foster who competed in the European Championships. Tameka Williams (St. Kitts & Nevis) has a PB of 22.45 and should take the title. In the 400m Kineke Aleksander (St. Vincent) ran 53.00 seconds in April and will line up against Claire Bergin (DSD) and Irish U20 champion Katie Kirk.
Al-Harthi Barakat (Oman) will take centre stage in the 100m with a best of 10.17 last year. NI Champion Ollie Back, Dean Adams, Adam McMullen are entered along with Irish athletes Chris Russell and Dara Kervick.
In the field events Zoe Brown and Claire Wilkinson will resume their rivalry in the Pole Vault while All Ireland champion Adam McMullen faces Luis Rivera of Mexico in the long jump. Kathy Hetherington, Beth Wilson and Caris Greenwood will battle it out in the discus while Matthew Martin will be looking to throw over 60m in the Javelin again after winning the All Ireland title at Santry.
Athletics NI General Secretary John Allen said: “We are very pleased to be able to welcome so many Olympic athletes to Antrim for their final preparation before going to London.
This event will be one of their final competitions before the Games and it will be a great encouragement to our own athletes to be able to take part in a local meeting alongside such high quality athletes. We are sure this opportunity and the experience it provides will be of great benefit to our athletes as their athletics careers progress”.
The event is being organised by Athletics NI in conjunction with the Lagan Valley Athletics Club. There is a prize fund for each senior race of £250 going to the top 6 and with the winner getting £100.
If any members of the media are looking accreditation for this event, please email email@example.com with full details. Photographers will have to sign in and wear a hi-vis vest.
•Ayanleh Soulieman - Djboutian 3:30.31 1500m man
•World Junior 1500m winner from last week Qatar’s Hasma Driouch
•Qatari 800m man Musaeb Bala - PB 1:45.17
•10.17 100m sprinter Al-Harthi Barakat of Oman
There is a prize fund for each senior race of £250 going to the top 6 and with the winner getting £100. Full information on www.athleticsni.org