Phil Healy played a starring role at last night’s AIT International Grand Prix in Athlone, the 25-year-old smashing the national indoor 200m record with her time of 23.10 seconds.
Drawn on the outside lane, Ireland’s fastest woman displayed impressive power to leave her rivals trailing, coming home a distant winner and smashing the previous record of 23.17, set by Ciara Sheehy in 2003.
“I’m absolutely buzzing,” said Healy. “I love racing 200s indoors and had a few things to correct from my last 200.”
Ciara Mageean brought the crowd to their feet with her victory in the women’s 3000m, the 27-year-old falling short in her bid to break the Irish record of 8:43.74, which was set by Mary Cullen in 2009. Mageean was rightly thrilled with her winning time of 8:48.27, which took seven seconds off her personal best.
“I came here to challenge the Irish record but it’s held by a fantastic athlete in Mary Cullen so it’s not going to come easy,” said Mageean. “I ran two PBs so far this season so it’s a great way to start 2020. All you can do is take those incremental steps.”
Thomas Barr also made an ideal start to the Olympic year by clocking an indoor personal best of 46.44 in the 400m behind Tony van Diepen (46.17) and Pavel Maslak (46.28). “I’m going home with a nice PB which I’m delighted about and it’s a really good benchmark for the rest of the year,” said Barr.
Ciara Neville impressed in the women’s 60m, the Limerick sprinter coming home second in 7.33 behind Britain’s Asha Philip (7.23). In the men’s mile, Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera came home first in 3:55.86, with Ireland’s Brian Fay producing a stunning performance to finish second, having challenged the Ethiopian until the final lap. The 21-year-old Dubliner ran himself to a standstill to clock 4:00.77.
“I was hoping to break four and I just went for it with 600 to run,” said Fay.
“I just tried to run as fast but I tied up with 100 to run.”
There were worrying signs for Mark English, who finished fifth in the men’s 600m in 1:18.49, a race won by Poland’s Mateusz Borkowski in 1:17.40.
Britain’s Andy Robertson was an impressive winner of the men’s 60m in 6.62, with Jeremy Philips the quickest of the Irish, seventh in 6.79.