ATHLETICS: Top field for Northern Ireland showpiece

More than £2,000 prize money will be on offer at the Mary Peters Track today when Commonwealth performers, experienced athletes and young hopefuls clash in the Northern Ireland and Ulster Senior Track and Field Championships.

The men’s 100m and 200m may prove the races of the day as World Paralympic champion Jason Smyth goes up against Aaron Sexton, the brilliant 17-year-old who set new Northern Ireland junior records at the Irish Schools.

Craig Newell defends his 400m crown against Andrew Mellon and Theo Campbell, the latter a former television reality star in Love Island.

Davicia Patterson, who qualified for the World Juniors when running 53.64 for 400m at the Irish Schools, should take the prize.

The Women’s 1500m will be close between Commonwealth girl Emma Mitchell and Olympic steeplechaser Kerry O’Flaherty, with Rachel Gibson also in the mix.

There can be victories for Ben Reynolds (110m hurdles), Adam McMullan (long jump), James Kelly (shot), Jai Benson (triple jump), Danny Mooney (1500m) and Connall Kirk can go well at (800m).

Conor Duffy and Neil Johnston can contest the 5000m, with Jessica Craig, Laura Graham and cross-country champion Rebekah Nixon prominent in the ladies’ race.

Sinead Denny and Lauren Roy can be top sprinters, record holder Hayley Murray will face Natalie Robbins in the hammer, with Mollie Courtney (100m hurdles) and Lydia Mills (long and triple jumps) also tipped for top spot.

The Championships, which also include u18, u19 and u20, start at 9.30am.

Meanwhile, over 400 athletes will contest the Stunnerz n Runnerz 5 miles race promoted by Sperrin Harriers at Magherafelt today from 12 noon.

The event, won by Natalie Hall last time ahead of Sarah-Jane Guiney and Julie Murphy, has seen victories by Cathy McCourt in 2014 and 2015 and Suzanne Higgins the year before. All will hopefully be in the line up.

The finish will be on the track at Meadowbank Sports Arena.