MENAPIANS ATHLETE WINS MEDAL AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES
‘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.athleticsireland.ie/coaching/fixtures, or for further details contact Colin Byrne (email@example.com 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. wexfordhalfmarathon.com/half-marathon).
Leon Reid, Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner.