Sport Athletics

Thursday 8 December 2016

Heffernan set for first big test of Rio build-up

Cathal Dennehy

Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30

'Heffernan, a former world champion over 50km, will drop down to 20km for tomorrow afternoon’s race' Photo: Sportsfile
'Heffernan, a former world champion over 50km, will drop down to 20km for tomorrow afternoon’s race' Photo: Sportsfile

Robert Heffernan will face his first major test of the season when he competes at the IAAF Race Walking Team Championships in Rome this weekend.

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Heffernan, a former world champion over 50km, will drop down to 20km for tomorrow afternoon's race.

After returning from a three-week training camp in Morocco, the 38-year-old Corkman will be looking to post a good performance as the countdown continues to the Olympic Games in August.

"I have a good block of training behind me and raced over 10K in Spain last week, so the build-up has been good and I am really looking forward to it," said Heffernan.

"This is the strongest team we've ever had going to this event."

Joining Heffernan in the 20km event in Rome are fellow Olympic qualifiers Alex Wright and Brendan Boyce, along with Westport's Cian McManamon. Boyce is qualified for the 50km, while Wright has booked his place in both events.

"I had a hard 50K race in March and a tough altitude camp in Morocco in April so I'm not sure how sharp I'll be for 20K," said Wright.

"But as always I'm excited to be representing Ireland."

Elsewhere this weekend, Claire McCarthy and Gary Thornton will take their final shot at Olympic Games qualification when they line up for the Prague Marathon on Sunday.

The Irish Olympic marathon team is set to be named on May 23.

Back at home, tomorrow's Belfast International and Leevale Open Sports will see several of Ireland's best elites get their track seasons under way.

Irish Independent

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