Belfast Irish Milers Meet: Paralympic stars continue build-up to IPC Worlds

Jason Smyth
Jason Smyth will aim for two gold medals at next month's IPC World Championships in London

Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop will continue their preparations for the IPC World Championships in London at Saturday's Belfast Irish Milers Meet.

The Paralympic stars will be among a large entry of international athletes in action at the Mary Peters Track.

Smyth will have two 100m outings at the meeting which is being co-hosted by the Irish Milers Club, Beechmount Harriers and the West Belfast Coolers Club.

McKillop will race over 1500m as he prepares for his London challenge.

Four-time Paralympic gold medallist McKillop produced an impressive metric run at the recent Northern Ireland Championships as he clocked 4:04.

And with international athletes from Ireland and the UK down to compete, Saturday's race should offer him the ideal tune-up for the defence of his two world titles next month in the Olympic Stadium.

Smyth's 100m opponents will include emerging North Down talent Aaron Sexton and Dean Adams so the five-time Paralympic champion is likely to be tested.

Youngster Patterson faces McManus rematch

The Belfast meeting will also feature exciting Beechmount 400m talent Davicia Patterson who took more than a second off her personal best when clocking 54.50 seconds to finish second at the recent Northern Ireland Championships.

Patterson was edged out by Catherine McManus in that race and the Dublin City Harrier will also be in the 400m field in addition to racing Carlow talent Molly Scott and another Dubliner Steph Creanor in the 100m.

As ever at the Belfast Milers meet, the 800m races promise to be competitive affairs with Finn Valley 1:49 man Mark Hoy taking on Raheny's Kieran Kelly, who has a personal best of 1:47.50, plus Scottish international Cameron Boyak, who clocked 3:39.15 for the 1500m in 2015.

The women's 800m field includes English 2:04.67 woman Ellie Baker plus Scotland's Philippa Millage and local hope Erin McIlveen who both have personal bests of 2:05, while World veterans champion Kelly Neely will be on pace-making duty as she works her way back to fitness after recently giving birth.

The women's 800m was the race of the day at last year's meeting
Scotland's Katy Brown pipped Ireland's Laura Crowe and England's Alex Bell in last year's women's 800m

Meet director Eamonn Christie is hoping Irish international John Travers will be a late addition to a 3,000m field that includes Bristol runner Dan Studley while local star wheelchair athlete Jack Agnew will tune up for his IPC World Junior Championship challenge in Switzerland in early August by competing in 400m and 1500m races against top Irish competitor Patrick Monahan.

Christie's initial intention was to put on a women's 5,000m to give his own athlete Emma Mitchell an opportunity to achieve the Commonwealth Games consideration time in that event after already banking the Gold Coast 10,000m mark.

"But Emma has been selected to represent Ireland in this weekend's European Team Championship in Finland which is a great honour for her and myself, as her coach," says Christie.

"The European Team Championship means we are missing a number of athletes who in all probability would have competed at our meeting but we will still have strong fields in all the events.

"We'll have a number of athletes who just missed out on selection for the Irish team so they will be motivated to produce big performances.

"Every race is sponsored and there will cash prizes in every A race and every single race will have prizes for first, second and third."

The meeting will get underway at 13:00 BST at the Mary Peters Track.

Top Stories