Saturday 24 March 2018

Athletics: Gillick ready for first test of new training regime

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

DAVID GILLICK makes his long-awaited seasonal debut in Florida tomorrow as the track season kicks off in earnest for many of Ireland's World Championship hopefuls.

Gillick and training partner Jason Smyth (who recorded a 100m personal best of 10.22 two weeks ago) are both competing in the NTC 'Last Chance' meeting in Clermont.

The DSD star has never been afraid to make brave coaching changes to keep his career progressing and, after finishing a disappointing fifth in the European 400m final last summer, he left Loughborough and moved to Orlando to start working with Tyson Gay's coach Lance Brauman in a high-calibre training group where Smyth was already established.

Given that new regime, there will be huge interest in how Gillick performs, especially as the two-time former European indoor champion skipped the boards completely this year.

He was due to have his first race in the Diamond League in New York next week but, having eyed up that field, which includes Jeremy Wariner, he has decided to do Clermont as a warm-up.

Gillick (right) and Smyth will both run for Ireland in the European Team Championships on June 18-19 in Turkey, where Derval O'Rourke will have her first 100m hurdles race of the season.

Alistair Cragg will run in the 10,000m at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic in Oregon tonight, while Mary Cullen, Joe Sweeney and Gary Thornton will compete in the European 10,000m Cup in Oslo tomorrow.

For all of Ireland's top seniors, qualification for this summer's World Championships (Daegu, South Korea, August 27 to September 4) has been made harder by not being able to carry over times from last season.

Apart from Ireland's elite walkers, few others have yet reached the qualification standards so everyone needs to hit the ground running in the coming weeks. Those European Team Championships in a fortnight's time will provide some of them with decent competition.

The Irish team was announced yesterday and the selectors have certainly gone for youth on the men's side, particularly for the distance events, where a host of rising athletes will make their senior international outdoor debuts.

The big domestic event tomorrow is the Aviva All-Ireland Schools Championships in Tullamore.

Though Ciara Mageean, who starred at the event last year, is no longer at secondary school, she will still feature in an Irish Milers Club 800m guest race that should be well worth watching.

This is also a busy weekend on the roads, with both the Flora Women's Mini-Marathon and the Bord Gais Cork Marathon taking place on Bank Holiday Monday.

team in factfile

Irish Independent

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