Annie and David don the Irish vest in Colwyn Bay
TWO YOUNG Wexford athletes had the honour of being chosen to wear the Irish vest on Saturday last at the Celtic Games. Representing Ireland in the long jump were Annie Stafford and David McDonald, both from Menapians, and both remarkably taking gold medals.
The Celtic Games is an annual international athletics match for Wales, Ireland and Scotland featuring the best Under-16 and Under-18 athletes across a range of disciplines. Each country takes a turn to host the match. This year the venue was Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay, in North Wales.
Annie was up first in the Under-18 women's category and despite jumping in tough conditions her leap of 5.48, whilst below par, was good enough for the win and the gold medal for Ireland.
This victory rounded off her fantastic season in style and she is now on a well-deserved break having won almost everything there was to win: the National Championships, the All-Ireland Schools, the Leinster Championship and the Celtic Games. She also achieved a P.B. of 5.78m and finished in seventh position in the European Youth Olympics - and still only 16 years old.
Wexford's second long jumper was 15-year-old David McDonald, wearing the Irish vest for his first time. David took the international competition in his stride as he progressively jumped further with each trial until he reached 6.17m, enough to easily take the gold.
This also rounds off an excellent season for the young Menapian who broke the six-metre mark on many occasions.
Both these athletes are sure to feature on Irish teams plenty more times over the coming years as they go from strength to strength in each competition, a testament to the quality of their coaching.