ATHLETICS: Ankrom: Sending team to Poland unlikely

The historic Irish women’s European cross country winning team are unlikely to compete at the World Championships in Poland in March according to Athletics Ireland High Performance Director Kevin Ankrom.

“I’m supportive of sending a team but I’m not seeing that collectively at the moment from the athletes,” said Ankrom. “If we are to send a team, I would like to send the best team but the athletes have made individual plans for the year. From a media point of view I know it’s disappointing but from planet me I’m supportive towards their individual goals,” he continued.

Fionnuala Britton, who continues her cross country season in Antrim today, issued a call to Athletics Ireland that she would like to lead a team to the worlds in Bydgoszcz on March 24.

The winning team last month in Budapest consisted of Britton, Linda Byrne (8th), Ava Hutchinson (20th), Lizzie Lee (23rd), Sarah McCormack (36th) and Sara Treacy (42nd).

Teresa McDaid, the team manager at the European Championships, who was awarded the Philips Manager of the month in Santry on Thursday said participation depends on the individuals availability.

“They have to follow their own individual plans. It would be exciting to send a team. There would be no hesitation in sending a team but it depends on where the individuals are. It’s a case of balancing and to tie in the worlds with their existing plans.”

Byrne will race alongside Britton at today’s 36th IAAF Antrim International Cross-Country meeting in Greenmount (2.25pm) eyeing a top three placing and feels the team could put on a strong showing in Poland: “I’ll definitely be available to go as part of a team. If we had a strong team, we’d be right up there.”

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