Lauren Roy (100m) & Craig McMeechan (1500m) secured top points with winning performances last night as eight NI and Ulster Athletes took on teams from England (North, Midlands and South), Scotland and Wales (Wales U20 and Welsh Schools) at the Welsh U20 International in Swansea last night, Wednesday 25th July 2018.
Youth Academy sprinter Lauren Roy (Adam McMullen) faced headwinds as she produced a time of 12.16s in the 100m and later secured second place with a dip finish in the 200m with 24.53s.
In one of the most dominant performances of the night, North Down’s Craig McMeechan (Francis Marsh) sat back off the early pace in the 1500m. Attacking the final lap to finish well clear of the field in a time of 3:56, McMeechan continues his current run of good form and looks to be in PB shape ahead of this weekend’s Irish Senior Championships.
Lining up against the UK’s best U20 400m hurdlers Niamh Malone (Brian Peppard) also out-performed her ranking to come home 3rd in the 400m Hurdles. In the field, Youth Academy Jumpers Jai Benson (Alan Kennedy) and Anna McAuley (Maureen McCauley) secured third places in the Triple and Long jump respectively. Jai’s jump of 14.06m was the third best performance of his career and; having secured a heptathlon PB just last weekend, Anna will be pleased with her improving long jump performance after a leap of 5.69m.
With two more years as an U20, Lagan Valley’s Cormac O’Rourke (Jim McKeown) was also close to his personal best with a strong 400m performance (50.25s) and will take plenty of positives from his debut performance for Northern Ireland.
Team Manager Laura Kerr said: “The Welsh International, which will be a regular fixture for the U20 age group from this year onwards, provided an excellent opportunity for Northern Ireland athletes to challenge themselves against the best juniors in the UK.
‘With our Commonwealth Games 2022 cycle underway Athletics NI are focused on strengthening the Athlete Development Pathway and increasing the numbers of athletes successfully transitioning from U17 to U20, U23 and senior age groups. Increasing the number of high quality competitions available to junior athletes will be key to this and Athletics NI will use these competitions as an opportunity for athletes to learn performance behaviours that will assist their preparation for future championships.
‘Development staff will continue to focus on supporting athletes to arrive at international events in their best physical shape with a mindset that allows them to perform under pressure. This will allow Northern Ireland to punch above our weight at international competition.
‘Thanks to Welsh Athletics who hosted a fantastic event and well done to our athletes who achieved the goal of out-performing their rankings.”
Full results and individual events replays are available HERE.