The Woodie’s DIY AAI Junior and U23 Indoor Championships will take place this Sunday the 10th of February in the AIT International Arena in Athlone. There are over 300 athletes expected to take part which will guarantee an exciting day of track and field action. 2013 marks a big year for the Junior and U23 athletes with the European Junior and U23 outdoor championships both scheduled for later in the year.
There will also be a senior women’s 800m and men’s 1500m included on the schedule. The races are being organised in order to facilitate athletes wishing to attain qualifying standards for the European Indoor Track and Field Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. Ciara Everard (UCD AC) and Laura Crowe (Riocht AC) will once again renew rivalry in the 800m. John Travers (Donore Harriers AC), John Coughlan (Metro St. Brigids AC) and Darren Mc Brearty (Letterkenny AC) will all target a fast time over 1500m.
TIMETABLE CHANGE: Please note that the Junior and U23 Women’s High Jump is now being held at 12.00 and the Junior & U23 Men’s High Jump will now be at 14.05
Expected highlights of the championship include:
Irish Youth Record Holder Marcus Lawler (St. Laurence O’Toole AC) makes his 2013 debut and will start as favourite to take both the junior 60m and 200m titles. Dean Power (Tullamore Harriers AC) and Keith Pike (Clonliffe Harriers AC) are two of the likely challengers to Lawler. World Junior semi-finalist Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) is the standout out name in the junior women’s sprints. Lavin will test her speed over 60m, before turning her attentions to her specialist hurdles event later in the day.
Catherine McManus (Celtic DCH) who recently set a personal best in the 60m of 7.55 on her way to victory at the Irish University Indoor Championships will be looking to improve on this PB on the weekend. Club mate Steffi Creaner will lead the challenge in both the 60m and the 200m while McManus will be favourite to take the 60m hurdles title.
U23 & U20 400m
Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) is the headline name of the men’s U23 400m field. The specialist hurdler has been in fantastic form this season over the flat, setting a new personal best of 47.46 at the Open Games. Dara Kervick (Carrick On Suir AC), Jason Harvey (Crusaders AC), Ciaran Mackey (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and Richard Morrissey (Crusaders AC) will all toe the line which should make for a high quality race.
World Junior 800m semi finalist Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dundrum South Dublin AC) drops down in distance and will compete in both the junior 200m and 400m in Athlone. Christine McMahon (Ballymena & Antrim AC) recently set a personal best of 54.77 and will start as the clear favourite for the U23 women’s title.
U20 High Jump
David Cussen (Old Abbey AC) leads the entries in the junior men’s high jump having cleared a personal best of 2.02m already this year. Andrew Heney (Clonliffe Harriers AC) won the Open Games with a height of 2.0om and along with Jamie Murtagh (St. Andrews AC) will challenge for the title on Sunday.
U20 & U23 800m
David Harper (Sligo AC) and Daniel Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole AC) will be two of the athletes to watch out for in the junior men’s 800m. Harper in particular showed excellent form at the Open Games when he ran a fast 3:51.59 over 1500m.Katie Kirk (Lagan Valley AC) and Sinead Denny (Dundrum South Dublin AC) are the two leading entrants in the U23 women’s 800m, both athletes will aim to go below the 2.10 barrier.
John Kelly (Finn Valley AC) has a personal best of 14.85m in the shot putt and will aim to get close to this mark on Sunday. Laura McSweeney (Bandon AC) and Sophie Parkinson (Gowran AC) are the likely contenders to battle it out for victory in the junior women’s contest.
The action gets underway with the long jump at 11am and the 60m begins proceedings on the track at 11.15am.