TOKYO OLYMPIANS SET TO HEADLINE AAI INDOOR GAMES
Tokyo Olympians Phil Healy (400m), Marcus Lawler (200m), and David Kenny (3000mW) are set to headline the 2023 AAI Indoor Games at the TUS International Arena in Athlone this Sunday (Jan 29th).
The day’s competition promises to further whet the appetite for what is sure to be an exciting few weeks of athletics with both the National Senior Indoor Championships (Feb 18th – 19th) and European Indoor Championships (Mar 2nd – 5th) now on the horizon.
Sunday’s competition gets underway from 11am with the 60m sprinters taking to the blocks for the first of their two race opportunities.
Of the Irish athletes, only Rhasidat Adeleke (7.20) and Sarah Leahy (7.32) have gone faster over 60m than the Leevale pair of Joan Healy (Leevale 60m) and Lucy May Sleeman (Leevale AC) who have looked consistently sharp in their appearances this season. Both sprinters will be lining up once more on Sunday and will be looking to go sub 7.40 (Healy 7.37 already this season).
Stephen Gaffney (Rathfarnham W.S.A.F. AC) and Leo Morgan (Clonliffe Harriers AC) look set to take their place in the men’s 60m and will be looking to build on their recent form.
Phil Healy (Banon AC) will be the star attraction should she take her place in the 400m from 11.40am. Healy finished an agonising 4th at the European Indoor Championships in 2021 and will no doubt have her sights firmly set on a big indoor season following a solid training block in recent weeks.
The 200m will see Olympian Marcus Lawler (Clonliffe Harriers) back to continue his busy start to the year. Padraic Hassett (Nenagh Olympic) continues to impress and is sure to be buoyed by his recent U23 indoor title (clocked 21.81).
James Kelly (Finn Valley) and up-and-coming young shot putter, Liam Shaw (Athenry AC), will ensure there’s plenty to shout about in the throwing circle from 11am.
The middle-distance events should offer plenty of interest. Niamh Kearney (Raheny Shamrock) has already shown some strong early season form and will ensure a strong pace from the gun. Elanor Foot (Bray Runners AC) claimed the U20 1500m title earlier this month and will look to chase a time along with Ellie Hartnett (UCD AC).
The entry for the men’s 1500m looks to have plenty of depth and familiar faces. Callum Morgan (Candour Track Club) will look to ignite his 2023 season following his superb twelve months which saw him compete at the World U20 and European Cross Country Championships.
Claire Mooney (Crusaders AC) and Mark Milner (UCD AC) catch the eye in the 800m entries, while David Kenny (Farranfore Maine Valley A.C.) drops down in distance with his entry for the 3000mW. The Kerry star enjoyed some superb performances in 2022 and was unlucky to be hampered by injury on the lead up to the European Championships in Munich.
Ruby Millet (St Abbans) returns to the 60mH and long jump on Sunday following her double gold in the events at the recent U23 championships. Millet posted a best of 6.31m in the long jump on that occasion and has plans on going much further this season.
Last year’s national indoor champion, Matthew Behan (Crusaders AC), returns to action in the 60mH. Behan will take to the start alongside the impressive Adam Nolan (SLOT) who defended his 60m hurdle title in style at the U20 championships, breaking the 8 second mark to cross in 7.95.
The 4x400m relays will see out the day’s competition from 4.30pm.