Athletics: Ryan puts sprint sensation Brady on World track
SHE had to find a new coach this winter when long-time mentor Paddy Fay retired to Spain, but hooking up with former Olympian Gary Ryan has certainly paid off quickly for Celbridge sprinter Claire Brady.
"Delighted and a little surprised," was her reflection on a breakthrough 7.35 run last weekend, just 0.05 seconds off Anna Boyle's Irish 60m record. It not only won the Irish indoors, but also secured her qualification for the World Indoors in Doha next month.
"I'd previously won a silver and bronze at national championships, but never gold," Brady said. "I got a terrible start in the semi-finals, but in the final I reacted well and it actually felt very easy."
Brady, and training partners Fiona O'Friel and Paul Opperman, are now working with Nenagh man Ryan, who paved the way for Ireland's new generation of sprinters and it's already paying dividends.
"Gary works in Galway (NUIG), but still lives in Limerick and we try and get down there once every two weeks," she explained.
"A lot of our work so far has been on technique and I've also upped my weights programme thanks to Martina McCarthy."
Brady (23) graduated from DCU last summer and is now working full-time for Cross Insurance in Ballyfermot, but her boss was among the first to buy a ticket to Qatar this week as he's also her dad!
A stress fracture prevented Brady from breaking 12 seconds at the European U-23s last summer, but she's definitely back on track now and her next stop is the British AAAs in Sheffield this weekend, which doubles up as the UKA World Indoor trials.
Local heroine Jessica Ennis has pulled out of the big Tyne meet with a slight injury niggle, but Kelly Proper and Deirdre Byrne -- both reigning AAA champions in the long jump and 3000m respectively -- and Ciara Mageen are among the large Irish contingent travelling. The event offers some of their team-mates a great chance to clinch World Indoor qualifying standards.
Elsewhere, World silver medallist Olive Loughnane, who herself took the precaution of skipping the Irish indoors because of a trapped nerve, is off to Flagstaff, Arizona next week for a four-week altitude training camp with her new German coach Stephan Platzer, who has coached his Norwegian wife to two Olympic silvers.
Loughnane has already indicated that she may yet skip this year's race- walking World Cup in May because of Mexico's high altitude and temperatures and also because of the event's close proximity (eight weeks) to the European Championships in Barcelona.