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Highlights from Northern Ireland and Ulster Open Championships

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Hot sunny conditions together with strong tail winds led to some excellent sprint and jump performances in the Northern Ireland & Ulster Open Championships, which incorporated the UK Challenge on Saturday 10 June.

 

On the track, both Anna Boyle (Ballymena & Antrim) and Amy Foster (North Down) produced the two fastest ever times ever by Northern Irish women in a 100 metres aided by a strong 4.2 m/s following wind. Boyle's 11.30 performance netted a huge 235 points in the UK Challenge. Ulster and Irish School's Champion Amy Foster, and still a junior, clocked 11.69 seconds. Foster then went on to take the 200m by a clear margin in 24.21 seconds.

 

Also taking advantage of the conditions was Paul Brizzell (Ballymena & Antrim). He held off the challenge of a number of visiting Africans to win the 100 metres final in 10.30 seconds assisted by an illegal wind speed of +5.5m/s (200 UK Challenge points). The conditions also helped in the jumps where Ireland's Mary McLoone completed a long and triple jump double with 6.22m and 12.41m.

 

With the province's big star James McIlroy unable to compete, in the middle distances there were dominant wins for Lagan Valley's Raymond Adams at 800m (1:51.18), and Gareth Turnbull (St Mary's) at 1500m (3:49.54).

 

The throws also provided some quality performances highlighted by Abbey's Michael Allen's Northern Ireland record in the javelin. His superb 79.55m effort scored a hefty 212 points, and gave him the added bonus of a cheque for £200 for setting a record.

 

Hammer thrower Rhiannon McNally (Craigavon) set a Northern Ireland hammer record of 50.85 to also net a bonus but didn't even win a medal in a quality competition won by Shirley Webb (Trafford) in 64.60 (208 points).

 

As expected, UK Challenge Champion Andy Frost (Woodford Green with Essex Ladies) won the Men’s hammer competition, in the end by around 50 feet with his best throw of 69.29m (191 points). Eva Massey (North Down) starred in the shot and discus. Her shot of 15.57 (181 points) went second on the UK outdoor rankings for 2006, though her discus of 45.70 scored just 133 points.

 

In the finals of the NCAA Division 1 Championships in Sacramento, California on 9–10 June, Tim Bayley (Belgrave) ducked under the UKA Development standard for the European Championships recording 1:46.64 to take second place in the 800m final. Tyrone Edgar (Woodford Green & Essex Ladies) finished seventh in the Men’s 100m final clocking a time of 10.31 seconds (-0.5m/s).

 

Amongst the other British athletes competing in Sacramento, Tom Lancashire (Bolton) clocked 3:44.20 for second place in the 1500m final, whilst Andrew Lemoncello (Fife AC) finished fourth in the 3,000m steeplechase final in 8:39.45 and Scott Overall (WSE&H) finished 11th in the 5,000m in 14:27.32. In the field events, Yasmine Regis (WSE&H) came close to the UKA Development standard for the European Championships with a leap of 13.60m, supported by an illegal wind of 3.5 m/s, she finished the competition in third place. Alex van der Merwe (Birchfield) finished in 12th place in the javelin final with a best of 61.96m and Keith Higham (Border) cleared 5.35m to take eighth place in the pole vault final.