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The stars of Irish athletics delivered on day 1 of the 123.ie National Senior Indoor Championships at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena on Saturday.
Raheny Shamrock’s Mark Smyth and Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC) both starred in the sprint 200m finals. Smyth, who had impressed earlier in the heats, posted a championship record of 20.77 seconds to claim the 2023 indoor title.
Sharlene Mawdsley set a personal best in the morning’s heat (23.61 seconds) before improving on that time to clock a PB of 23.50 seconds in the final. This time moved the Newport AC athlete up one place to 6th on the Irish all-time list indoors.
In the men’s 3000m, UCD’s Darragh McElhinney produced a sub-25-second final 200 metres to claim the men’s 3000m title in a championships record time of 7.49.18.
McElhinney sat in the slipstream of the eventual second place finisher Nick Griggs (Mid Ulster AC) for much of the race, with the pair stretching clear of the field over the opening laps. McElhinney claimed the title thanks to his final kick, as Griggs stayed on to take silver in 7.55.75.
Emerald AC’s star hurdler Sarah Lavin claimed the women’s 60m hurdles title in 8.03 seconds, while Matthew Behan (Crisaders AC) retained the men’s version in 8.10 seconds.
Olympian David Kenny (Farronfore Main Valley) posted 19.11.43 to win the men’s 5k walk, while Kate Veale (West Waterford AC) took the women’s 3k walk in an indoor PB of 14.40.46.
Mark English (1.52.88) and Nadia Power (2.13.28) safely negotiated the heats of Saturday’s 800 metres.
Phil Healy (Bandon AC) and Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrock) set up a clash in Sunday’s 400m decider, with both safely advanced to the 400m final.
Jack Raftery (Donore Harriers) impressed in qualifying for the men’s 400m with a 48.02.
There was a championship record of 13.25m for Saragh Buggy (St Abbans) in the triple jump as she went close to Taneisha Scanlon’s national record of 13.28. It was the St Abbans athlete’s 20th national title (indoor and outdoors).
The much-anticipated clash between Eric Favors (Raheny Shamrock) and John Kelly (Finn Valley) went right to the wire, with a 19.26m from Favors enough to claim the gold. Kelly settled for silver with a throw of 19.19m.
Ellie McCartney (City of Lisburn) claimed the women’s pole vault title with a best of 4.05m, while Sam Healy (Leevale) was best of the long jumpers with 7.36m.
Kourosh Foroughi (Star of the Sea A.C.) won a very competitive men’s high jump with a best of 1.95m from Cork’s Ben Donovan (1.90m).