Joanne Cuddihy will compete in the Olympic 400 metres, having become the 17th Irish track and field athlete to qualify for London 2012.
In clocking 51.45 seconds to win in wet conditions at the Shizuoka International Track and Field meeting in Japan, the Kilkenny athlete beat the Olympic “A” standard of 51.55 by one-tenth of a second.
It’s a welcome early birthday present for Cuddihy, who turns 28 next week.
Cuddihy holds the national record of 50.73 seconds set at the 2007 World Athletics Championships in Osaka, but missed large chunks of the current Olympic cycle through injury.
An athlete with Kilkenny City Harriers and UCD, Cuddihy has Sunday’s Golden Grand Prix in Kawasaki next in the diary.
It will be Cuddihy’s second Olympics following Beijing, having competed at the last two Europeans in Gothenburg in 2006 and Barcelona two years ago, having competed in the two recent Far-East-based Worlds in Daegu and Osaka.
Athletes who have not yet hit the Olympic qualifying mark have until July 8th to do so, with the European Championships in Helsinki at the end of June providing the best prospect of recording a fast time.
Meanwhile, Mark English of Letterkenny AC has qualified for the 800m at the World Juniors in Barcelona in July, in the 800m.
English achieved the time by winning the two-lap race at the BMC meet.
His time of 1.48.19 is inside the Athletics Ireland A standard for Barcelona, thanks to the DCU student finishing well ahead of Sam Dykes in 1.50.39 and Ben Waterman in 1.50.54.
Irish Olympic ‘A’ qualifying standard – Athletics:
Paul Hession - men's 200m
Ciarán O'Lionaird - men's 1500m
Alistair Cragg - men's 5000m
Mark Kenneally - men's marathon
Robert Heffernan - men's 20k and 50k walk
Brendan Boyce - men's 50k walk
Joanne Cuddihy - women’s 400m
Derval O'Rourke - women's 100m hurdles
Fionnuala Britton - women's 10000m and 3000m steeplechase
Stephanie Reilly - women's 3000m steeplechase
Deirdre Ryan - Women's high jump
Tori Pena - women's pole vault
Olive Loughnane - Women's 20k walk
Maria McCambridge – women’s marathon
Linda Byrne - women's marathon
Ava Hutchinson - women's marathon
Catriona Jennings - women's marathon