A sporting spectacle unfolded within the surrounds of the Athlone Institute of Technology indoor sports arena as the International Grand Prix athletics played to a capacity crowd at the state of the art facility.
With focus very much on the Irish athletes participating, Phil Healy, competing in the Hodson Bay Group 200m, attained ‘athlete of the Grand Prix’ status, creating a new national record as she posted the fastest run by a European athlete this season, her time of 23.10 breaking an Irish record which was in situ for seventeen years.
As the athletics enthusiasts present continued to create a major din during Grand Prix proceedings, adding to the prevalent sporting atmosphere, crowd pleaser and Irish Olympian in the making, Ciara Mageean, broke her own stadium record, which was set in 2014, and an impressive personal best with a time of 8.48.27. Mageean was pushed hard throughout the TG4 Women’s 3000m by Rosie Clarke (GBR ), a sub 8.55 athlete in her own right, with Clarke achieving a time of 8.49.49.
Perennial Irish favourite, Thomas Barr, faced a tough race against three time World and European Indoor champion Pavel Maslak (CZE ) and last year’s winner and Euro Indoor Championship bronze medallist Tony Van Diepen (NED ). Maslak started strong until the last bend when Van Diepen came up from the outside to clinch first place with a time of 46.17. In his first outing of the season, Barr pushed hard on the last bend of the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Men’s 400m finishing third with a time of 46.44, achieving a personal best in the process.
Current 1500m World Indoor champion Samuel Tefera (ETH ) opened his 2020 campaign with an attempt at the World Indoor Mile record (3:47.01 ). Despite falling short of the record, he still led the race taking home first in the AIT Men’s Mile with a time of 3:55:86. Up and coming Irish steeplechaser, Brian Fay, attempted to catch Tefera and gave an impressive performance. Fay, who held on to second place, set a personal best of 4.00.77.
The all-Irish AIT Sport Women’s Long Jump was won by Eliabeth Morland with a distance of 5.70m. Close in second was Adeyemi Talabi with a jump of 5.67. Jennifer Hanrahan took home third place with a distance of 5.51m.