Alex Wright wins 10k but sprinters steal show at Leevale Sports

Alex Wright sharpened up his preparations for the European Race Walking Cup by winning the 10k race walk as sprinters stole the show at the Leevale Sports in CIT on Saturday.

Wright (Leevale) won his event comfortably in 41:32 and will now compete over 20k in Podebrady, Czech Republic in two weeks’ time. The Cork-based athlete has been in fine form in 2017 as he gears up for a big performance at the World Championships in London in August.

Newport’s Sharlene Mawdsley is another to have continued her rise in 2017 and the 18-year-old schoolgirl won the women’s 400m in 55.36 — a European U20 B qualifying time.

Mawdsley is part of Thomas Barr’s training stable at the University of Limerick under the tutelage of Hayley and Drew Harrison. The St Mary’s student is currently a 200m specialist and ran the Irish U20 indoor record of 23.85 earlier in the year.

Her main focus at the European U20s in Grosseto, Italy will be the 200m and 4x100m relay where a medal is a realistic prospect in both events. Mawdsley had to settle for second at the Leevale Open in the 200m in 24.33 behind Joan Healy’s (Bandon) 24.03. However, it was into a headwind and she will progress in the coming weeks. Healy, older sister of Phil, also won the 100m in 11:75.

Brendan O’Donnell (Lifford Strabane) and Miriam Daly (Carrick-on-Suir) also impressed with qualifying standards. O’Donnell won the junior hammer with 67.20m, a European U20 B standard, while Daly won the 400m hurdles in 61.79 — a European Youth standard.

Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry) won an exciting women’s 800m on the line in 2:13.90 from Louise Shanahan (Leevale) in 2:13.92. Leevale youngster Matthew Murnane won the men’s 800m in 1:58.77.

At the Irish Milers Club Meeting in Greystones, John Travers (Donore Harriers) impressed in the 5,000m, winning in 13:52.67 — the marquee event of an excellent meeting.

Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley) leapt to 1.82m in the high jump in Belfast, a new Irish U20 record. Meanwhile, all eyes were on Monza in the early hours of Saturday morning to see could Eliud Kipchoge break two hours for the marathon as part of Nike’s ‘Breaking 2’ marketing project.

And the classy Kenyan nearly did it stopping the clock an agonising 25 seconds outside at 2:00:25 — just under a second a mile short.

“Although I have missed my target I will be leaving here a happy man,” said Kipchoge who ran at a stunning pace of 4:36 per mile. “I will have to think of what I will have to do next. For the last seven months, I have been really focusing and training hard and preparing for this event. Self-discipline has proved it can bear fruits.

“First when we were coming here for this project the dream was 2 minutes 57 seconds away, now it’s only 25 seconds away.”

The time does not stand as a world record due to a number of factors including a wind shield and multiple pacemakers, but it did leave a number of “experts” eating humble pie. The quest continues.


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