Wednesday 13 December 2017

Whelan must prove fitness to make Euro relay squad

Niamh Whelan
Niamh Whelan
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

ATHLETICS Ireland still hasn't signed off on the women's 4x100m relay squad for the European Championships as it is waiting on a fitness assessment of Niamh Whelan.

The Ferrybank flier has been getting treatment for an injury and the Irish Independent understands she has been given until next Wednesday to prove her fitness, two days before the 30-strong Irish team departs for the championships, which start in Zurich on August 12.

AAI confirmed that Phil Healy, Amy Foster, Kelly Proper, Sarah Lavin, Christine McMahon and Whelan are its preferred 4x100m squad but would only say "form and fitness" will be taken into account before the team is named.

The team was due to be released last Sunday but was deferred pending Whelan's fitness.

AAI said it has alerted its auxiliary squad and has cover if someone has to be replaced at the last minute.

McMahon is among five of the team for the Europeans who will already have been part of the Northern Ireland team competing in the Commonwealth Games.

Annadale marathon runner Paul Pollock is one of those 'dual' athletes and competes in the 10,000m in Glasgow tonight (8.0).

Letterkenny's Daniel Mooney will also be in action in the 1500m (6.0). The in-form Zoe Brown is in action tomorrow (7.0) and is tipped to do well in the pole vault.


Brown has already broken the Northern Ireland record five times this season and her personal best of 4.45m has her ranked second on the Commonwealth standings going into the competition.

Joint Irish 100m record holder Amy Foster (City of Lisburn) and 400m hurdlers McMahon and Jason Harvey also competed in Scotland.

Foster made the semi-finals, McMahon was fourth in a straight 400m hurdles final in 58:67 but Harvey, who didn't compete in the Irish nationals due to a foot niggle, didn't get through his 400m hurdle heat where he was fifth in 52:06.

It has been a hectic schedule for the 'dual' athletes and whether it has benefited or hampered them will be seen at Europeans.

On the domestic scene, there are three GloHealth National Championships this weekend.

The clubs' National League final takes place in Tullamore on Sunday where DSD's women are defending their title but, with defending champions Crusaders failing to qualify, the men's title is wide open.

The National Combined Events Championships also take place in Tullamore over the next two days, while on Monday over 800 club athletes have entered for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Dublin, which doubles up as the National Half Marathon championship with individual and team titles at stake.

Irish Independent

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