Hession targets Brizzell’s 200m record

PAUL HESSION will be chasing Paul Brizzell’s national 200m record at The Mardyke on Saturday afternoon when some of the world’s best athletes will assemble for Cork City Sports.

The Athenry sprinter has already claimed the indoor 60 metres record, made the finals of that event at the European indoor championships and then, in his first race of the season in Greece, smashed the 100m record. He reduced that record to a world class 10.18 secs at the European Cup in Vaasa on Saturday.

Now the 200m record, which has been his long-time target, is firmly in his sights. Paul Brizzell set it at altitude some years ago when he ran 20.54 secs.

Hession ran a wind-assisted 20.53 at the Golden League meeting in Oslo last Friday week, and produced 20.61 secs in Vaasa on Sunday when he beat Sweden’s Johan Wissman.

And bright and early yesterday his manager, Andy Norman, rang Cork City Sports Chairman, Dick Hodgins, to tell him he is now ready to break the record at The Mardyke.

“All the indications are that he will break the record in Cork,” Dick Hodgins said. “His performances over 60m and 100m this year have been phenomenal. The 200m has always been his primary event and it is only a matter of time before he breaks that record too.”

It was also confirmed yesterday that Sarah Claxton, who has a great rivalry with Derval O’Rourke at The Mardyke, will line up for the 100m hurdles.

On Sunday she was adrift of the world indoor champion and world silver-medallist at the European Cup in Vaasa when O’Rourke ran a seasonal best of 13 sec flat for second place behind the European champion, Susanna Kallur in what was described by Liam Hennessy, Chairman of the Athletics Ireland Performance Committee, as a huge step forward for the Cork athlete.

American high jumper, Amy Acuff, arrived in Cork yesterday ahead of Saturday’s showpiece. A graduate of UCLA and the Academy of Oriental Medicine, Austin, she is a part time model and is married to pole vaulter, Tye Harvey, who was silver medallist at the world indoor championships in Birmingham in 2003. She was fourth in the Athens Olympics in 2004 and is a five time US champion.

Reese Hoffa of the United States, who won the world indoor title with a throw of 22.11m — adding 37 centimetres to his previous best — in Moscow last year, will lead a star-studded field for the men’s shot putt. Dylan Armstrong, the Canadian champion, another American Steve Manz, and Ivan Yushkov of Russia are included.

Nadine Kleinert of Germany, silver medallist at the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, will be the star attraction in the women’s shot putt.

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