There was standing room only in the International Arena in Athlone last week for the Grand Prix International Athletics which delivered six stadium records and which featured star attractions Ashton Eaton, Brianne Theisen and Tabarie Henry.
Eaton, the Olympic decathlon gold medallist and world champion, won the 60m in a new stadium record of 6.69 seconds. Eaton's wife, Brianne Theisen Eaton, won the women's high jump, clearing 1.80m, as well as the shot putt where she threw 13.46m – a new PB for the world heptathlon silver medallist.
In the men's 400m, Timmy Crowe (Dooneen AC) pushed Tabarie Henry all the way to the finish line, the latter winning in 46.81 seconds, and Crowe was delighted with a PB time of 47.29 when he came second.
Kelly Proper (Ferrybank AC) won the 60m in 7.44 seconds and the long jump with 6.49m – a new stadium record; one of 7.71m was also set in the men's long jump by Daniel Bramble.
Katie Kirk won the women's 800m in 2:03.58 and Karl Griffin (UCD) edged out Niall Tuohy to win the men's 800m in 1:50.47.
Eoin Everard (KCH) won the Senator Eamonn Coghlan Mile in 4:03.08 from Joe Warne (4:04.04) and Cameron Boyek, but the athletes let the prospect of breaking four minutes slip away when they did not closely track the early pacemaker.
The atmosphere in the packed arena was truly excellent.
SÍOFRA GOES FOR SIXTH
The Aviva Irish Schools’ Cross Country Championships take place in Cork CIT on Saturday.
This annual fixture is the culmination of six weeks of competition for the country’s best young schools’ athletes. Close to 1,000 athletes have progressed from their regional qualifiers, and nearly 100 schools will vie for the team awards.
Síofra Cléirigh-Buttner of Coláiste Iosagáin and Aaron Hanlon (St Mary’s Drogheda) will start as favourites in their respective senior races after emphatic victories at the Aviva Leinster Schools Cross-Country Championships in Santry Demesne last month.
Cléirigh-Buttner will target a historic sixth straight schools title. If anybody is to challenge her, it is likely to be Munster champion Niamh Cotter of Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí, who coasted to victory at the Aviva Munster Schools Championships on February 13.
Hanlon will start as marginal favourite in the senior boys’ race