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Griffin gets AAI funding reprieve after appeal

International race walker Colin Griffin (30), who was furious at the handling of his application for a carding grant this year, has now received some funding from Athletics Ireland (AAI).

Several high-profile athletes suffered reductions or were dropped completely from the grant system this year when the Sports Council (ISC) cut the overall budget and also gave more autonomy to performance directors to decide the qualifying criteria.

Double Olympian Griffin, who finished 11th in the 50km walk at the last European Championships, was cut completely and had argued against this on the basis that he already had the 'A' standard for this summer's World Championships in Moscow (August 10-18).

The Ballinamore man was aggrieved that there appeared to be no avenue of independent appeal.

He subsequently got to make his case to a three-man AAI committee and, after a series of meetings, including one with high performance director Kevin Ankrom earlier this week, has received funding.

Griffin would not reveal the sum but it is not expected to be any more than half of the minimum €12,000 ISC grant that he was on.

But the Leitrim walker confirmed that the matter had been resolved to his satisfaction. When the grant furore initially blew up, Griffin claimed that his loss of funding meant he would be unlikely to make the World Championships.

"I've had a small injury but have still been training solidly since January so I'll work hard, give myself every chance and make my own decision on Moscow closer to the time," he said.

The Irish Independent understands that Mary Cullen and David Gillick, who are also 'un-carded', have also received recent assurances of funding after talking with Ankrom.

Ireland's top 50km walker Rob Heffernan pulled out of his expected season opener in Milan due to a recent bout of flu.

Elsewhere, Irish ultra-runner Dan Doherty finished an excellent eighth in the European 100km Championships in France.

Irish Independent