Ben Reynolds close to Beijing place after new personal best

Ben Reynolds
Ben Reynolds clinched an impressive victory over William Sharman at Bedford

Holywood hurdler Ben Reynolds may have booked himself a place at this month's World Championships after setting a new Northern Ireland record.

Reynolds, 24, cut .01 off his personal best and also defeated English star William Sharman as he won the 110m hurdles at the English Championships.

The Northern Irishman's time of 13.48 is .01 outside the Beijing standard.

However under the IAAF's new quota system, Reynolds is now in line to earn a place at the World Championships.

The new rules state that the IAAF will select non-qualified athletes from this season's rankings after the entry period closes on 10 August.

The quota for the 110m hurdles is 40 athletes with Reynolds' time currently placing him 35th and, as it stands, currently in line to be added to the Beijing entry.

Portaferry woman Ciara Mageean is in a similar position to Reynolds with her season's best of 4:08.32 putting her 42nd in the rankings with all those eligible athletes in the top 45 set to be invited to compete in China.

Paul Pollock
Paul Pollock won the Irish Half Marathon title in Dublin on Sunday

Reynolds's victory over three-times world championship finalist Sharman, 30, in Bedford represented quite a scalp for the Northern Irishman.

Sharman, who clocked 13.53, won silver at last year's European Championships and is a twice Commonwealth Games silver medallist and has a personal best of 13.16.

200m runner Kelly Proper, 800m specialist Ciara Everard and steeplechaser Sara Treacy are also in similar positions although the qualification prospects of all the Irish athletes concerned remain precarious given that there is still over a further week before the entry deadline.

Waterford woman Proper recorded was just .04 outside the Beijing 200m standard as she clocked 23.24 in Belgium on Saturday where Brian Gregan set a 400m season's best of 45.85.

Meanwhile, Reynolds's fellow Holywood athlete Paul Pollock won the Irish National Half Marathon title in Dublin on Sunday as his time of 65 minutes and nine seconds left him 11 seconds clear of defending champion Mick Clohissey with Belfast man Kevin Seaward third in 65.52.

Pollock was using the race as preparations for his Berlin Marathon challenge in September.

Cork athlete Lizzie Lee set a new personal best of 73.27 as she won the women's title ahead of DSD's Sarah Mulligan (77.35) with Ciara Hickey (81.49) third.

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