Wednesday 20 September 2017

Athletics: Anxious wait for Cuddihy as appeal date fixed

Caitriona Cuddihy
Caitriona Cuddihy
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

CAITRIONA CUDDIHY'S appeal against her deselection from Ireland's 4x400m relay team for the Olympics will be heard by the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) on Thursday.

She will be informed of the result by Monday at the latest, which is only five days before the Games begin.

The Kilkenny runner, who has been training abroad for the past week, will run at the annual Cork City Sports tonight (8.30), with her Olympic dream still hanging on the outcome of the appeal.

The OCI has confirmed that Cuddihy's case will be held by a three-person appeals tribunal comprising Dermot Sherlock (OCI secretary general), William O'Brien (OCI first vice-president) and Susan Ahern (OCI member), with the latter acting as chairperson.

It has also clarified the situation regarding her registration as part of the official Irish team in London.

All athlete registrations for London had to be completed last week, so the OCI registered Cuddihy as part of the team pending the possibility of having to withdraw her if the appeal is unsuccessful.

Cuddihy was initially selected on the 4x400m team by Athletics Ireland (AAI), but when Joanna Mills successfully appealed her non-selection on the team to the AAI, the Ballymena & Antrim teenager was included and Cuddihy was dropped.

The Kilkenny City Harrier is now appealing that decision to the OCI.

The Olympic Council have already had to hear one selection appeal this summer when cyclist Matt Brammeier appealed his omission from the road-race team for London; his appeal was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, local hero Ciaran O Lionaird will make his long-awaited return to competition in the mile race in Cork tonight, indicating he has recovered his fitness in time to take his place on Ireland's team for London.

Concerns

There were serious concerns that the Leevale star, who finished 10th in the 1500m at the World Championships last year, would not get to fulfil his Olympic dream when the Achilles tendon injury -- which first affected him at World Indoor Championships last March -- took a long time to clear up. The US-based Cork runner has not competed since.

His fitness will be tested tonight as he will come up against some useful opponents, including Ryan Gregson, the 3:52.24 runner from Australia, plus John Rankin of the Cayman Island, who has a best of 3:54.24. O Lionaird's best is 3:57.99.

O Lionaird's involvement at CIT will help make up for the absence of Jeremy Wariner, the US 400m star who pulled out last weekend after getting into the Diamond League meeting in London.

The Cork meeting, which has returned to a mid-week fixture this year, is also expected to feature several more London-bound athletes in Rob Heffernan, Olive Loughnane, Marian Heffernan, Fionnuala Britton, Joanne Cuddihy and Stephanie Reilly.

Racing starts at 6.0, with the mile scheduled for 8.30.

Irish Independent

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