Athletes blow roof off National Indoors as UCDs elite Czech in for Prague.

The National Indoor Championships were held last weekend at the recently established Athlone I.T arena providing athletes with some excellent competition while simultaneously being an ample blow-out for those who are qualified for the European Indoors which are being held in Prague, Czech Republic next week.

One of the big highlights of the day was undoubtedly the emergence of Emerald A.C’s 15 year-old starlet Ciara Neville who managed to win double silver in both the 60 metres and 60 metre hurdles, an unprecedented achievement for a junior at senior level and a sublime start to a very promising career.

Another athlete of note was Kelly Proper of Ferrybank A.C. who completed a hat-trick of National titles winning the 60 metres, 200 metres and long jump bringing her total indoor titles to a record nineteen.

Proper set a new stadium record of 23.27 in the 200 metres just off the needed standard of 23.20 for the World Championships in Beijing and brings her to number one in European Ranking list over the distance.

Dara Kervick (Clonliffe Harriers A.C) took the Men’s 400 metre title in 46.53 significantly improving on his personal best of 46.80 set in Saturday’s heats which secured the 47.20 qualification standard for the European Indoors while Adam McMullen (Crusaders AC) produced a lifetime best for long jump to take the title with 7.80 to hit the standard for the European Indoors and move to second on the all-time list.

It is over the famous two lap distance that UCD’s interests mainly lie however with both Mark English and Ciara Everard taking home the men and women’s 800 metres respectively. English displayed his class as he commanded the National field to romp home comfortably in a relatively pedestrian 1:51.34 rubberstamping his ticket to Prague, while Everard also proved her worth kicking for home with two hundred metres to go and coming away from the rest of the field to claim her National title in 2:06.63.

Ciara secured her European standard at the AAI Games meaning UCD will have two athletes competing at the championships. Ciara Mageean also qualified but unfortunately will not be competing due to injury.

Looking towards Prague, a medal may be on the cards for Mark English. The Donegal man is currently fourth on the European rankings and is notorious for his tactical prowess. If he can proceed through the heats and reach the final safely, there is no reason why he can’t medal or better.

Everard will also be thinking big with reaching the final first on her agenda, no mean feat as only a mere eight athletes will have this honour, if Ciara does toe the line in the final however, anything is then possible. Mark English and Ciara Everard will travel with fire in their belly, aiming to ignite the Czech crowd and heat up the European Championships.

After the winter it has been, these type of performances would be duly warranted.


Update: Mark English went on to claim the silver medal in the men’s 800m final at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague yesterday, Sunday the 8th of March, coming in behind winner Marcin Lewandowski from Poland.