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Athletics Ireland National Juvenile Indoor Championships – Day 3

200m and 800m events, 25th March 2018 at Athlone IT Arena

The Programme on Day 3 started with 200m heats for the U16-19 athletes. Travelling to Athlone with an injury Nelvin Appiah was forced to pull out after the warm up and did not compete on the day. This was all the more regrettable as Nelvin’s Connacht qualifying time would have seen him extremely competitive for a podium place had he ran in the final. After the heats Killian Rawle, U17 Boys, was 10th of the competitive field of 17, time 23.86 seconds, and therefore did not progress further. He can be satisfied taking home a new pb, showing continued improvement from his performance at the start of the indoor season at the National Junior Championship in January (24.12 sec). Gospel Idahor ran well but did not get out of her heat. She utilised the occasion to network with other teenage athletes picking up tips on injecting more speed into her training sessions.

The 800m heats followed and Longford AC had 3 athletes on the roster, Kate Hagan, Christopher Conaty and Cian McPhillips. Both Kate, U15 Girls, time 2.30.40 minutes, and Christopher, U16 Boys, time 2.14.37 minutes, felt the pressure of the pace at this stage as neither made the cut to make the final 8. Three new CBP (Championship Best Performances) were set in the 800m races so the endurance and stamina of all the athletes across the age groups was surely tested on the day.

Cian McPhillips continues his excellent form winning the U17 Boys 800m in a new Championship Best Performance to bring home his second All-Ireland Gold of the 2018 National Indoor Championships.

Day 2 of National athletics saw Longford Athletic Club juvenile Cian McPhillips dominate the U17 Boys 1500m winning with a lead of 17 seconds on his closest opponent. With three laps to go he ran hard on his own, setting a pace that none of the other competitors could keep up with for the remainder of the race. He took the race with a huge margin of over 100 meters from the second place athlete and in the process he lapped most of the field. Cian really made his mark as he smashed the existing record set in 2010 by over 6 seconds and achieved the qualifying standard for the European Athletics U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary in July.

Last week’s time was all the more impressive as a mere five hours before Cian had to run in the 1500m heats in order to qualify for the actual final later in the afternoon. As there were 18 athletes listed, heats were run in the morning with the top 12 qualifying to run again only a few hours later in the final.

Cian faced the same challenge again this week in the 800m race, running in a heat in the morning to qualify for the late afternoon final as there was a large field of 22 athletes that had to be narrowed to 12 finalists. After a few hours rest Cian looked very confident going into the final as he had clocked the fastest overall heat time. In 2017 Cian won the U16 Boys 800m, time 2:00.91 minutes, in a straight final. It is a tough balancing act for a young athlete to save enough stamina to give an even stronger performance later in the day alongside the best in your age group.

Shooting off from the outer most lane Cian immediately took the lead and was out in front for all 4 laps. His Gold medal was never threatened as he crossed the finish line with a ten second lead on his closest opponent to set a new Championship Best performance at 1:52.67 and achieve the European U18 Performance Standard for U18 Boys.

Athletics Ireland is committed to the development of the next generation of international athletes with a selection process that will give opportunity be competitive at this level. To date Cian is one of only eight Irish athletes aged 15-17 who have achieved the Performance Standard to be considered for selection for the European Athletics Youth Championships that will be held 5-8 July in Gyor, Hungary.