Sibling rivalry propels Doherty to new heights in sprint ranks
NOT getting picked to run in the 4x100m Irish relay team at last summer's European Junior Championships and some serious sibling rivalry were prime motivators for young Keith Doherty's sprint breakthrough last weekend.
The 18-year-old from Kilnamanagh caused a sensation by breaking the Irish junior 60m record – beating the holder Marcus Lawler in the process – at the underage indoor 'nationals' in Athlone IT.
Doherty was particularly nervous before recording his 6.88 mark because his opponents included his brother Eoin (two years younger), the reigning Irish U-17 100m champion.
"I was terrified my little brother was going to beat me," Doherty said. "He's a great talent, we often race in training and he sometimes beats me, so there'd be a fair bit of rivalry between us."
Not getting to run in the 4x100m team when he got his first international vest in Reiti last summer has also driven Doherty to train harder than ever this winter.
"That broke me a little. I thought I was going to start and ended up only being a sub, but when I came home it made me work even harder."
Doherty's clubmate Joseph Ojewumi – a former Irish schools champion – was second, relegating Lawler to third, while brother Eoin was fourth (6.97) and Sligo's Zac Irwin (6.99) was fifth in a high-class U-20 decider.
Tallaght AC has previously produced Brian Gregan and 800m talent Anthony Leighio and Doherty said coach Danielle Kilgallon is making waves with their current sprint group.
His father Declan played Gaelic football for Sligo and Doherty himself has played GAA with Ballyboden St Enda's and Thomas Davis and is also a former junior international Olympic handballer. But he gave up everything else to concentrate on sprinting, has a 100m PB of 10.97 and is repeating one subject (business) in the Leaving Cert next summer in the hope of going to DCU on scholarship in 2015.
Attention returns to Athlone IT again on Sunday for the Woodies DIY Open Indoor Games, which has some loaded fields strengthened by a number of good guest runners.
David Hynes and Stephen Colvert will face strong competition from German sprinters Max Kessler and Eric Franke; 400m hurdler Jason Harvey is racing the 200m and Amy Foster returns to action to challenge the in-form Phil Healy in the 60m, from which Sarah Lavin will be absent as she's racing over 60m hurdles in Loughborough tomorrow.
Timmy Crowe is taking on four sub-47.0 visitors in the 400m, including Spanish duo Mark Ujakapor and Samuel Garcia of Spain's national 4x400m team.
Mark English makes his eagerly-awaited seasonal bow in a high-quality 800m that also includes Spain's sub-1.46 man Alex Rodriguez and Holland's Thijmen Kupers (1:46.46 PB), while Ciara Everard is the star attraction in the women's 800m.
The men's 3,000m includes three sub-eight-minute men in Donore's John Travers and Spain's Victor Corrales and Adel Mechaal, while the meet has also attracted most of the top domestic pole-vaulters.