An athletics team of 15 will compete for Northern Ireland at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. The Games get underway on Thursday July 28th and will conclude on Monday August 8th. It is set to be an extremely busy time for some of the athletes selected with some expected to compete at next month’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon and mid August’s European Championships in Munich, Germany.
Included in the team are six Tokyo 2020 Olympians. Amongst them is Ciara Mageean, former European medallist over 1500m. Mageean who is based in Manchester with Team New Balance has recently changed coaches and is now under the watchful eye of Helen Clitheroe. She finished 13th at the last Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia and will be hoping to significantly improve this time round.
Twin sisters Eilish and Roisin Flanagan from Co. Tyrone will also feature for Team NI. Eilish competed at the Tokyo Olympics in the 3000m Steeplechase and will go in the same event in Birmingham, while Roisin will toe the line in the 5000m. Both are coached by Damon Martin and have been based in America in recent years at Adams State University.
In the marathon, Tokyo Olympians Paul Pollock, Stephen Scullion, and Kevin Seaward have been selected. Seaward has ran the quickest marathon by an Irishman in 2022, having clocked 2.11.54 in Manchester in April. Para athlete Mark Millar will compete in the T54 marathon.
Irish senior record holder Kate O’Connor will be joined by Anna McCauley in the Heptathlon. O’Connor is the only Irishwoman to ever record over 6000 points in the event and won silver at the European U20 Championships in 2019. She has openly said that she is targeting a medal at the Games.
Sprinter Leon Reid will compete in the 200m. Reid won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games running 20.55s. He also competed at the Olympics last year making the semi-final.
World U20 silver medallist in 2018 Sommer Lecky will compete in the High Jump. Lecky finished joint 10th in the Games in 2018.
Athletics Northern Ireland Performance Lead Tom Reynolds said all of Team NI were “excited” ahead of the Games.
“You could almost split the team in half, we have all six Olympians that went to Tokyo last year from Northern Ireland and they are extremely experienced then we have a host of young and development athletes, they may be development, but they can still really contend in Birmingham,” he said.
They will look to the likes of Reid, Mageean, and O’Connor for medals and are optimistic about their prospects.
The full Northern Irish athletics team can be found below:
|Anna McCauley||Heptathlon||John Lane|
|Ciara Mageean||1500m||Helen Clitheroe|
|Eilish Flanagan||Steeplechase||Damon Martin|
|Ellie McCartney||Pole Vault||Kate Rooney|
|Hannah Irwin||10,000m, 5000m||James Thie|
|Kate O’Connor||Heptathlon and Javelin||Michael O’Connor|
|Kevin Seaward||Marathon||Andy Hobdell|
|Leon Reid||200m||James Hillier|
|Megan Marrs||100m Hurdles||Alex Nwenwu|
|Roisin Flanagan||5000m||Damon Martin|
|Sommer Lecky||High Jump||Niall Wilkinson|
|Stephen Scullion||Marathon||Nic Bideau|
|Paul Pollock||Marathon||Andy Hobdell|
|Eve Walsh-Dann||T38 100m||Roger Sexton|
|Mark Millar||T54 Marathon||Heather Ardis|