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‘I MIGHT pos­si­bly be in the best shape of my life.’

Those were the words of Menapians ath­lete Leon Reid hav­ing qual­i­fied for the men’s 200m fi­nal at the Gold Coast Com­mon­wealth Games in Aus­tralia. He then went on to win a bronze, North­ern Ire­land’s first Com­mon­wealth Games ath­let­ics medal since 1990.

Con­tro­ver­sially, Eng­land’s Zhar­nel Hughes was first across the line in the race but he was dis­qual­i­fied for run­ning out­side his lane. Jereem Richard of Trinidad & Tobago, who ran 20.12 sec­onds, the same time as Hughes, at least un­til you get down to thou­sandths of a sec­ond, was pro­moted to first with Cana­dian Aaron Brown, on 20.34, mov­ing up to sil­ver. Reid clocked 20.55, his sec­ond fastest time ever.

Reid, 23 years of age, wants to run for Ire­land but his re­quest to switch al­le­giance from Great Britain to Ire­land is cur­rently stalled. His Ir­ish con­nec­tions are strong.

His birth mother hails from Stra­bane, while his fos­ter mother is from En­nis­cor­thy. It is the lat­ter con­nec­tion which led to him join­ing Menapians.

Last year he met the qual­i­fi­ca­tion stan­dard for the world cham­pi­onships in Lon­don. An open let­ter to I.A.A.F. Pres­i­dent Seb Coe, the sport’s most pow­er­ful fig­ure, seek­ing his sup­port with his trans­fer so as to al­low him to run for Ire­land fell on deaf ears and he missed out. Since then Reid has re­mained in limbo.

A sur­prise bronze medal win­ner in the 200m at last sum­mer’s Bri­tish world cham­pi­onship tri­als, Leon has long been marked as one to watch by those in the know.

He won Euro­pean 200m medals for Britain at Ju­nior and Under-23 lev­els. At the na­tional Se­nior in­door cham­pi­onships in Fe­bru­ary, Leon won gold in the 60m and 200m, com­plet­ing a ‘dou­ble dou­ble’ as he also won over both dis­tances in 2017.

He was a mem­ber of the Menapians men’s team which ear­lier this year broke the Ir­ish club 4 x 200m record at the Na­tional In­door League.

Four-time Olympic gold medal­list Michael John­son is among those who have called on the I.A.A.F. to make a de­ci­sion on Leon’s re­quest to rep­re­sent Ire­land in in­ter­na­tional ath­let­ics.

The in­ter-var­sity track and field cham­pi­onships took place at the Mary Peters track in Belfast last week­end.

Joseph Mooney (D.C.U.) won sil­ver in the 3,000m walk. Peter O’Con­nor (I.T. Car­low) took the sil­ver in com­bined events, with Conor Gaffney (U.C.D.) in the bronze medal po­si­tion.

Conor was also fifth in high jump. Peter O’Shea (T.C.D.) was sixth in javelin. Conor Wil­son (A.I.T.) placed sixth in the 200m fi­nal.

Em­man­ual Og­bonna (W.I.T.) put in a solid per­for­mance in the triple jump to place fourth.

The fol­low­ing coach­ing cour­ses are com­ing up in the south-east. Club coaches, of­fi­cials and par­ents are en­cour­aged to at­tend.

Satu­day, April 21, as­sis­tant coach course, Par­ish Cen­tre (St. Joseph’s A.C.), Ros­ber­con, Co. Kilkenny. Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: €60.

April 28 and 29, Level 1 coach­ing course for Spe­cial Olympics coaches, Ne­nagh, Co. Tip­per­ary. Time: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Price: €100.

Mon­day, April 30, of­fi­cials’ course, En­nis­cor­thy Sports Hub. Time: 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m.

May 5, Ath­let­ics Leader course, Astro Ac­tive Sports Cen­tre, En­nis­cor­thy. Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: €60.

May 25, 26 and June 1, 2, Level 1 coach­ing course, R.S.C. track, Cork Road, Water­ford. May 25 and June 1, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., May 26 and June 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: €100.

June 9, en­durance run­ning course, As­pect Ho­tel, Ring Road, Springhill, Kilkenny. Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price: €60.

Reg­is­ter on­line at http://www.ath­let­ic­sire­­ing/fix­tures, or for fur­ther de­tails con­tact Colin Byrne (col­in­byrne@ath­let­ic­sire­ or 087-063232).

Fix­tures: April 22, St. Se­nan’s A.C. open track and field, Kil­ma­cow, Co. Kilkenny; April 26, Loreto Schools track and field cham­pi­onships, Santry; April 27, South Le­in­ster Schools track and field, day one, Water­ford R.S.C.; April 29, Pet­titt’s Su­per­Valu Wex­ford half-marathon and 10k, or­gan­ised in as­so­ci­a­tion with D.M.P. A.C. (www. wex­ford­half­

Leon Reid, Com­mon­wealth Games bronze medal win­ner.

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