COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Strong Northern Ireland athletic team confirmed

Amy Foster
Amy Foster

Fourteen track and field athletes have been named by the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council to compete at the 2014 Glasgow Games.

The team includes several Northern Ireland record holders and is an interesting mixture of Commonwealth debutantes and experienced performers.

Zoe Brown in pole vault, Amy Foster 100m, Ben Reynolds hurdles, Kerry O’Flaherty steeplechase and Jason Smyth mens 100 are all record holders who will have chances to reach finals.

Zoe Brown’s 4.32 metre pole vault to win the Welsh Championships ranks her fourth in the Commonwealth. She competed in the Games in 2002 and 2006 after opening in gymnastics back in 1998. Her coach Jim Alexander will make sure that she is in peak shape for Glasgow.

Amy Foster set a record of 11.40 for the short sprint and can go faster while Bey Reynolds 110 hurdles in 13.49 will give him realistic final chances.

Kerry O’Flaherty has dominated the steeplechase for a number of years. She was very unlucky not to be selected for the last Games while Paralympic champion and world record holder Jason Smyth can shake off injury and get close to his 10.22 time which will be competitive.

Paul Pollock with a best of 28 minutes 32.18 set in the USA goes in the 10,000 before tackling the European marathon, Jason Harvey is third on the Irish all time 400 hurdles list and can go close to 50 seconds while Peter Glass has produced 7,510 points in the decathlon.

Katie Kirk and Christine McMahon go to their second Games after competing in the relay in Delhi. Katie recently clocked a very impressive 2 minutes 02.97 for 800m while Christine has 57.63 for 400 hurdles.

Gladys Ganiel has run a 2 hours 38 marathon. She clocked 76 minutes 42 for the half marathon in Reading before winning at Edinburgh. She can make the top ten. Daniel Mooney has clocked 3 minutes 42 for 1,500 and has a deadline finish with the team completed by 66.62 metres hammer thrower Dempsey McGuigan and Cross Channel based Leon Reid for 200 metres.

Reid, Smyth, Harvey, Reynolds and Glass are also named in the 4x100 relay squad.

Former Commonwealth discus silver medallist Jacqueline McKernan is named as Athletics Coach with international 400 runner Elaine Grant as her Assistant.

Jacqueline McKernan said, “I am delighted that such a strong team of athletes has been selected to represent Northern Ireland. Each athlete selected responded to the challenge set in 2013 when the consideration standards were first announced. “Athletics Northern Ireland has selected one of the largest ever athletic teams for the Commonwealth Games, the depth of talent and experience within the squad truly reflects how strong the sport of athletics in Northern Ireland is.”