The Athletics Ireland Open Indoor Games takes place on Sunday 27th of January in the remarkable new Indoor Arena in Athlone IT. The new state of the art arena has attracted a record number of entries with over 360 athletes set to compete. The event will see a number of top international athletes battle it out against many of Ireland’s brightest track and field stars. It also gives the opportunity for club athletes to improve their personal bests as there will be multiple heats across the board.
Timetable change to Athletics Ireland Open Indoor Games
Athletics Ireland Open Indoor Games has been moved to 11.30am. Athletics Ireland are delighted that over 360 athletes have entered the competition however in order to accommodate this huge number the 60m will now start at 11.30am. The timetable for the field events will remain unchanged with the men’s pole vault starting at 12.10
For full details and any further changes please go to the AAI website
Highlights expected on the day include:
Men’s 3,000m Walk-12.40
Olympic fourth place athlete and multiple Irish record holder Robert Heffernan (Togher AC) will be the outstanding favourite for this event. Heffernan began his 2013 season at the Munster Indoor Championships in early January and recorded a time 19:13.82 for the 5,000m walk, his fastest ever season opener. He currently holds the national record for the 3000m walk with a time of 11:10.02, a time he will aim to better on Sunday. Other athletes likely to feature include Alex Wright (England) and Luke Hickey (Leevale AC).
The women’s 800m could prove to be the race of the day with a number of Ireland’s best middle-distance athletes toeing the line. Reigning outdoor 800m champion Siobhan Eviston (Raheny Shamrock AC) has big aspirations for the 2013 season and will look to kick start her season in style on Sunday. Ciara Everard (U.C.D AC), Laura Crowe (Riocht A.C.) and Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dundrum South Dublin AC) make up the all star cast with the Athletics Ireland performance standard for the European Indoor championships of 2:03.50 a distinct possibility. All four Irish athletes will have to contend with German athlete Jana Hartmann who has an 800m PB of 2:02.30.
European 400m finalist Brian Gregan (Clonliffe Harriers AC) headlines the men’s 400m field on Sunday. The Dublin athlete’s major target for the winter is the European Indoor Championships set for Goteborg, Sweden in March. Gregan will face off against Dutch athlete Bjorn Blauwhof, who has an outdoor personal best of 46.69 and Tom Druce of Great Britain. Brian Murphy (Crusaders AC), Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC), Tim Crowe (Doneen AC) and Eoin Mulhall (Crusaders AC) will all aim to get their 2013 seasons off to the best possible start.
John Travers (Donore Harriers AC) had an excellent cross country season and will aim to translate this form into a quick time over the boards. The Athletics Ireland performance standard for the European Indoor championships of 8:00.00 is a likely target. Travers can expect tough opposition from Spanish trio Juan Higuero, Mohamed Marhum and Alberto Alaiz. Higuero is the best know of the Spanish trio, a proven championships performer over the last decade.
Women’s Long Jump-12.45
Irish long jump record holder Kelly Proper (Ferrybank AC) makes her long awaited return in her specialist event. After over a year of injury and illness Proper made a welcome return to competition at the Munster Indoors on the 6th of January. On that occasion she won the 60m in a time of 7.69. She will contest this event along with the long jump in Athlone.
Men’s & Women’s Pole Vault-12.10 & 15.10
David Donegan (Clonliffe Harriers AC) has won countless national titles and will be the favourite to take the victory. He can expect tough opposition from his team mate Ian Rogers (Clonliffe Harriers AC) and young up and coming athlete Peter O’Brien (Raheny Shamrock AC). The women’s event will see Claire Wilkinson (Ballymena & Antrim AC) and Zoe Brown (Raheny Shamrock AC) battle it out. Brown began her season with a 4.20m clearance in Cardiff on the 13th of January.
The action on Sunday gets underway at 12pm on the track with the men’s and women’s 60m and the field event programme begins with the men’s pole vault at 12.10.