The Woodie’s DIY Junior and U23 Indoor Championships of Ireland will take place this Sunday, January 26 in the Athlone IT International Arena. Ireland’s very best up and coming athletes are set to compete with a record number of over 400 athletes entered which represents a 33 per cent increase on the 2013 entries.
2014 marks a big year for the junior athletes in particular with the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships taking place in Eugene, Oregan from July 22-27. While the leading U23 athletes will chase times for the World Indoor Championships for Sopot, Poland from March 7 to 9.
European Junior silver medallist Sarah Lavin (UCD AC) is set for a busy day on Sunday as she contests the U23 60m and 60m hurdles events. Lavin began her 2014 campaign in style at the national indoor league when she clocked a time of 8.40 (60m H), which is just outside her junior record of 8.36 set last season. Catherine McManus (Celtic DCH) opened her season with a time of 8.69 at the league is also in the line-up. Both athletes will contest the 60m flat event as well where they will have to contend with the inform Phil Healy (Bandon AC). Healy rocketed to equal 7th on the Irish all time indoor lists with a time of 7.43 seconds in Cardiff on January 12.
Sprinting sensation Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole AC) headlines the junior men’s sprint events as he takes to the boards for the first time in 2014. Lawler will contest both the 60m and 200m events in Athlone where he will renew rivalry with Sligo AC athlete Zac Irwin. Irwin made a big breakthrough last season by making the semi-finals of the 200m at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Specialist 400m hurdler Thomas Barr (Ferrybank AC) will start as favorite in the U23 men’s 400m as will World Youth representative Alanna Lally (Galway City Harriers AC) in the junior women’s 400m.
European junior 800m finalist Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dundrum South Dublin AC) is the leading athlete in the junior women’s 800m with 2013 European youth gold medalist Louise Shanahan (Leevale AC) set to challenge. Robert Tully (Star of the Sea AC) looked superb two weeks ago at the national indoor league when he ran a solo 1.52.00 for the 800m goes in the junior men’s event. In David Harper (Sligo AC) returns from a spell of warm weather training to test his progress over 1500m. At U23 level Amy Donoghue (Emerald AC) and Ellie Hartnett (UCD AC) are expected to battle it out.
Luke Hickey (Leevale AC) who finished 13th at last year’s European Junior championships over 10km will contest the U23 3k Walk as will fellow Irish international James Treanor (Shercock AC).
World Youth representative David Cussen (Old Abbey AC) renews his rivalry with Sam Healy (Leevale AC) in the junior high jump and long jump events. Healy leaped 7.01m in the long jump at the Munster championships last weekend to win the title. 2014 National Youth Combined Events champion Elizabeth Morland (Cushinstown AC) will compete in the junior women’s high jump and long jump events with junior combined events champion Sarah McCarthy (Mid-Sutton AC) also in the lineup. Another world youth representative John Kelly (Finn Valley AC) lines up in the junior men’s shot putt.