AAI decision good news for Carroll

MARK CARROLL will welcome the news that the AAI have decided to try to persuade the Olympic Council of Ireland to abandon their July 3 deadline for Olympic qualification.

At last weekend’s Annual Congress in Donegal it was unanimously agreed that the July 3 deadline was not realistic and delegates instructed International Secretary, Liam Hennessy, to go back to the OCI and seek an extension, possibly bringing it into line with the IAAF deadline which is late July.

Mark Carroll, who has his sights on a qualifying standard at 10,000m, has been critical of the OCI deadline for some time describing it as a barrier to athletes.

The Irish record holder at 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m abandoned his decision to run the marathon as well as the 10,000m in Athens after failing to finish the Flora London Marathon on Sunday week.

He has since returned to the US and to begin his preparations for a crack at the 10,000m standard and, while he hopes to achieve that target over the coming weeks, he posed the question as to what would happen if he should run a big race in July.

“I know I am capable of doing that and I would certainly hope to be selected,” he said. “But I am not the only one. The deadline is unfair to athletes.”

He holds the national record for 10,000m a 27:46.82 which is inside the qualifying standard but he is adamant that he can improve further on that over the coming months.

Over the coming days he will be talking to his Agent, Irish 1,500m record holder, Ray Flynn, about the options available to him to run 10,000m but admitted that they were few.

In fact he has rarely run the distance himself and set the national record at Stanford exactly four years ago.

Next weekend his Leevale clubmate, Cathal Lombard, who already holds the Olympic standard for 5,000m, will chase the 10,000m standard at the Stanford meet where Rosemary Ryan will also compete.

At the Congress in Donegal, former Olympian and leading coach, Maeve Kyle, was elected to the AAI Executive as one of three new members. She replaces the former Chairman of the NIAF, John Allen and has now served on practically all of the athletic bodies North and South of the Border.

Sean Naughton from Nenagh was re-elected as was Aine Pobjoy from Dublin while there was only contest among the officers and Corkman Michael Quinlan, team manager for the Olympics, was re-elected Treasurer over Rita Brady from Navan.

On Saturday morning a meeting took place to discuss the possibility of an athletics licence for the Island of Ireland and, as a result of this, further meetings between the relevant bodies will be held.

Mr Heery was re-elected unopposed as were Vice-President, Patsy McGonagle, Secretary, Georgina Drumm, and International Secretary, Liam Hennessy.

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