08.07.2014 Nine of Ireland’s up and coming athletic talent will travel to Eugene, Oregon to compete at the World Junior Track and Field Championships which take place from the 22nd-27th of July. The level of competition at the World Junior Championships will be of the highest quality when you consider previous winners include athletic icons Usain Bolt and David Rudisha. The Irish athletes will test themselves against the very best junior athletes in the World at the iconic Hayward Field, a track steeped in athletic history.
The Irish team will be accompanied by Junior High Performance Manager Jacqui Freyne. Freyne said “These championships will provide a great opportunity for our athletes to test themselves against the very best athletes in the World. It will also give them the chance to experience top level championships competition, which hopefully they will experience plenty more of in the years to come.”
Irish Junior Record Holder Marcus Lawler (St. Laurence O’Toole AC) competes in the 200m having run a time of 21.05 (-1.5) this year in Genève on the 14th of June. Carlow athlete Lawler has previous championships experience having competed at the World Juniors in Barcelona in 2012 when he exited in the heats. Since then Lawler’s progression has been on an upward curve setting the current Irish Junior 200m Record of 20.87 and placing fourth in the 200m at the 2013 European Junior Championships in Rieti, Italy.
Lawler will be joined in the 200m by fellow junior international sprinter Zak Irwin (Sligo AC). Irwin has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2014 setting a new personal best of 21.34 over 200m in Belgium on the 28th of June. Irwin competed at the 2013 World Youth Championship in Donetsk, Ukraine where he made the semi-finals of the 200m running a time of 21.76.
Ireland will also be represented in the women’s sprint events in Eugene with Niamh McNicol (Ferrybank AC) and Cliodhna Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers AC) set to go in the 200m. Manning was in superb form at the GloHealth Junior Championships in Cork winning the title and setting a new personal best of 24.21. McNicol competed a day previous (5th July) in Oordegem, Belgium and ran a personal best of 24.33.
The Irish team will be well represented in the 800m with Karl Griffin (UCD AC), Robert Tully (Star of the Sea AC), Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (Dundrum South Dublin AC) and Aislinn Crossey (Newry AC) all selected.
Griffin and Tully battled it out at the National Junior Championships with Griffin coming out on top in a slow tactical race with Tully just behind in second. Of the two athletes Tully has run slightly quicker this year with a time of 1.49.15 with Griffin running a time of 1.49.52 at the IMC event in Dublin on June 15th.
Cleirigh Buttner is qualified to run in both the 800m and 1,500m in Eugene having recorded times of 2.06.11 (12th May) in Greystones and 4.25.43 (31st May) in Tullamore. Cleirigh Buttner has previous experience at World Juniors having finished fifth in the 800m semi-finals in Barcelona in 2012.
Crossey is just behind her team mate on the 800m rankings this year having set a time of 2.06.33 at the BMC meet in Watford on the 18th of June. Crossey proved her championships metal last year placing fourth in the final of the 800m at the 2013 European Junior Championships in Rieti.
Ireland’s sole representation in the field events is Emma O’Hara (Galway City Harriers AC) as she contests the hammer event. O’Hara secured qualification for the event at the Penn Relays in April when she threw 58.98m. She won the national junior title last Sunday with ease throwing a distance of 56.38m