No sunshine for Jason in Florida
Quality track and field action from Watford featuring Connor Bradley, National League competition in Antrim and Jason Smyth in Clermont, Florida kept the local athletics scene busy last weekend.
And there was also the annual Buncrana 10k road race on Saturday evening which saw Greg Roberts and Marina Campbell lead home a large field at the Inishowen venue.
The Sunshine State failed to live up to its billing once again as Jason Smyth failed to crack the Olympics 100 metres “A” standard on Saturday.
With clockings of 10.34s and 10.39s the Eglinton sprinter was off target again in the short sprint and he will now be returning from his Florida winter base to continue his quest at a series of races in Europe with the European Championships in Helsinki at the end of the month, perhaps the final shot at making the time of 10.18s or better, prior to the July 8th cut-off date.
Both he and coach, Stephen Maguire remain convinced of his ability to succeed and continue to plan for a summer which hopefully will see the Eglinton Flyer at both the London Olympics and Paralympics.
He also ran his first 200m of the season but in a wet track in the aftermath of a thunderstorm and was clocked at 21.25s. This was encouraging and was just 0.31s off his 200m personal best from last year. Jason had switched from the New York Diamond League meeting in favour of his “home” track in Clermont in a bid to avoid unfavourable weather conditions but the expected sprint friendly Florida conditions, sadly refused to cooperate and the quest continues.
Connor wins in Watford
The BMC Grand Prix at Watford on Saturday produced a new 1,500m PB for Connor Bradley when he impressed by winning his graded race in an excellent 3m 45.55s, ahead of two English runners.
And in fourth place came young Letterkenny athlete, Ruari Finnegan, who made the upcoming European Junior standard with a 3m 46.27s effort.
Just about half a second separated the top four in an exciting battle which the Spartan was delighted to win. Connor continues to improve and will target hitting the low 3m 40s figures as the season develops.
The two local clubs Olympian and City of Derry meantime were in National League action in sunny Antrim on Sunday and both squads impressed.
The female Spartans convincingly topped their Women’s Division One pool and look good in advance of round two next month. With a sweeping 11 event wins they saw off all the opposition and will travel, probably to Santry on July 22nd for the second round, pretty well nailed on for a spot in the eight team final and a shot at promotion to the Women’s Premier Division. Their stand-out performers on the day were Mary Devlin who posted a 100m, Long and Triple Jump treble and double Hurdles winner Emma McCay. The smaller Olympian squad finished in 5th place.
In the Men’s Premier Division the male Spartans relied significantly on their younger squad members and in a loaded pool did well to notch a total of 94 points for a fifth pace finish.
North Down, Tallagh, St Abban’s and reigning champions Clonliffe Harriers filled the top four spots but the Spartans kept alive their chances of making the League final with a spirited all round performance. Hopefully a few more quality bodies can be added to the squad for next month to boost the challenge.
Hammer thrower, Andrew Doyle was the sole winner on the day but second spots from Padjo Hamilton 400m, Mark McGarvey 110m Hurdles, Andrew again in the Shot and the sprint relay quartet of Mark McGarvey, Ryan McParland, Daniel Reid and Jack McCloskey contributed to a decent points haul.
The Olympian men were in Division One action and did well to claim the runners-up spot behind a strong Sligo County team. They posted a healthy 117 points and will fancy their chances of making the division Final for the second year in a row. John Coyle impressed with a Long Jump and 200m double as did Lee Barlow in the Throws and Patrick O’Donnell weighed in with another win as the squad maximised their efforts across the division’s 15 scoring events.
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Weather for Derry
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South east