Leon Reid: Sprinter in limbo on mooted switch from GB to Ireland

Leon Reid
Leon Reid competed for Northern Ireland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Northern Ireland sprinter Leon Reid says he has "no idea" when he is going to be able to represent Ireland in international competition.

English-born Reid, who won European junior and U23 medals for Britain, applied to switch international allegiance earlier this year.

However, the IAAF's decision to halt all changes of nationality, pending a review, is threatening Reid's plans.

"I don't really know what's going on now with it," Reid told BBC Sport NI.

"Athletics Ireland have been working on my behalf but at this stage, there doesn't appear to have been any movement since the IAAF announcement was made by Sebastian Coe in February."

Back then, IAAF president Coe said a working group was being established to formulate new rules following the outcry over the huge amount of African athletes who have switched allegiance in recent years.

Countries such as Bahrain and Qatar have been able to lure talented Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes to switch allegiance while several European countries have also exploited IAAF regulations to get African athletes in their teams.

Reid close to Commonwealth mark in Belfast

Reid, 22, achieved a sprint double at the Northern Ireland Championships in Belfast on Saturday.

After clocking 10.59 seconds to beat Paralympic star Jason Smyth in the 100m final, Reid missed the Commonwealth Games consideration standard by 0.04secs in his 200m semi-final as he crossed the line in 20.81.

Less favourable wind conditions saw him posting a time of 21.12 in the 200m final.

"I'm not having much luck at the moment. My blocks slipped back in the 100m final which affected my start a lot," added Reid.

"But I know I'm going to get the Commonwealth standards (100m 10.26, 200m 20.77). It's just a matter of time.

"The 200m has always been my best event but my 100m has been very good this year. I've improved my PB to 10.33 and also run a couple of wind-assisted times under 10.30."

Reid set his 200m personal of 20.62 in 2015 and has clocked 20.79 for the distance this year.

Jason Smyth won the T13 100m title at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Doha
Jason Smyth will aim for a sprint double at the IPC World Championships in London next month

Smyth prepares for IPC World tests in London

Smyth, meanwhile, was content with his 100m outing at the Mary Peters Track as he builds up towards the IPC World Championships in London next month.

The five-times Paralympics gold medallist spent three weeks at his former training base in Florida last month although he was only able to get in one race during the warm-weather stint.

"A date change prevented me from running in one of the meetings I was scheduled to compete in and then the other meet was cancelled because of a thunder storm," said Smyth.

"So to an extent, I'm still trying to gather where I am at in terms of my form.

"I actually got in a really good winter. I've been been able to put in the work which is very positive. So in that respect a good foundation has been set down and it should be just a matter of executing the races."

After been coached by Clarence Callendar in London, following a long and successful stint with Stephen Maguire, Smyth is now working with a variety of people in Belfast.

"I've got people at Athletics Northern Ireland helping out when I'm down here, like Tom Reynolds, keeping an eye out and taking times and that sort of thing.

"I am kind of going back to what worked in the past for me."

Smyth will aim for a sprint double in London after the birth of his daughter Evie meant that he was unable to defend his T13 200m title after winning the 100m at the last championships two years ago in Doha.

Top Stories