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Athletics: O'Rourke eyes indoor glory

ATHLETICS: Just three athletes -- Derval O'Rourke, Ciaran O'Lionaird and Ben Reynolds -- will represent Ireland at the upcoming World Indoor Championships in Turkey, WRITES CLIONA FOLEY.

Five Irish athletes had achieved the qualifying standards for Istanbul (March 9-11) but Clonliffe's Brian Gregan, a European U-23 400m silver medallist last year, has decided to concentrate his energies on June's European Championships in Helsinki and West Waterford's David McCarthy is ruled out because he will be competing for Providence College at the US college indoors.

This is O'Rourke's first return to the World Indoors since she announced herself on the international stage by winning the 60m hurdles title in Moscow in 2006 -- with an Irish record of 7.84 seconds that still stands.

Her Leevale clubmate Ciaran O'Lionaird emerged as a serious international prospect last summer when he finished 10th in the 1500m at the World Championships.

He has since moved to Oregon to an elite training group that includes Mo Farah and the Corkman's recent form has been promising, including a lifetime best of 3:54.76, the eight fastest mile in the world this season.

North Down's sprinter hurdler Ben Reynolds, who transferred his allegiance this season, will receive his first Irish cap after lowering the national U-23 record to 7.74 seconds in Belgium this month.

Irish Independent