Fionnuala Britton, who takes on Olympic 5,000m champion Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) over 3,000m in Karlsruhe this weekend, was the headline athlete at the announcement of the new partnership between New Balance and Athletics Ireland last night.
By Feidhlim Kelly
“I’m honoured to be part of Team New Balance,” said the two in-a-row European Cross Country champion. “To have its support and innovative products behind me will really help my development as a runner.”
Her development as a runner will see her take on the might of the Africans indoors this weekend with this preparation looking to culminate in a medal-winning performance at the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg (March 1-3) and a top 10 placing at the World Cross Country Championships in Poland (March 24).
Britton’s contract is set to run for four years with the private company. And as well as that, her individual contract should also be particularly substantial as a reward for her excellent performances of late, which has seen her take the Great Edinburgh run title as well as victory at the IAAF Cross Country Race in Antrim.
The Athletics Ireland preliminary contract is set for three years and should be worth close to six figures – no official figures were released as they are a private company.
The new partnership sees New Balance supply the Irish track and field team with a full selection of team wear, including performance apparel for use in competition in all Irish events, World Championships and European Championships. They will also supply training and warm up items for medal ceremonies, travelling and public appearances.
The gear will be put to the test this weekend in Karlsruhe as Britton, in excellent shape, will look to rewrite the Irish indoor 3,000m indoor record of 8:43.74 set by Mary Cullen in the United States in 2009.
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