Leon Reid: Sprinter would turn down GB London spot to keep Ireland ambition alive

By John HaugheyBBC Sport NI

Bath-based sprinter Leon Reid says he would not accept a place in Britain's World Championship team as he continues efforts to secure Irish eligibility.

Reid, 22, finished a surprise third in the 200m at GB's World Championships Trials in Birmingham on Sunday.

The GB selectors still have a spot to fill alongside trials top two Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Danny Talbot.

"Even if they (the selectors) came and asked me and got down on one knee, I want to run for Ireland," says Reid.

The English-born athlete, whose mother was born in Belfast, competed for Northern Ireland at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

However, he has represented Britain in international competition having won 200m silver medals at both European Junior and European Under-23 championships.

Reid achieves sprint double in Belfast

After winning the 100m and 200m at Wednesday's Belfast International meeting, Reid revealed that he began his attempts to switch international allegiance in June of last year.

"This has been in the works for a year and a week now. People have thought 'oh he wants to move because he's not running that well'. That's not the case. I'm all in for Ireland."

When asked whether he would turn down the offer of a place in the British team for next month's championships in London, Reid replied: "Yeah. I want to run for Ireland and I'm not going to let any of them stop that."

Reid's ambition of switching to Ireland appears to be in limbo following the IAAF's decision to halt all changes of nationality, pending a review of the current rules.

However, he is optimistic that he will be able to wear the green Irish vest sooner rather than later and has not totally given up hope of representing Ireland at next month's World Championships.

"There's no movement just yet but there is still a month until the World Championships. There's always a hope. As an athlete you've always got to be a bit of an optimist."

Reid secured the World Championships standard as he clocked 20.38 seconds in Sunday's final in Birmingham as he finished ahead of Zharnel Hughes and last year's Olympic Games fourth placer Adam Gemili.

"I am on a bit of a high but it honestly does feel as though I've been hit by a truck. The way my body reacted on Monday. When I woke up I was sick in the sink."

Nevertheless, the 200m specialist was only denied a new 100m personal best in Belfast on Wednesday night by an marginal illegal wind reading as he clocked 10.32 seconds before easing to victory in the longer sprint in 21.02.

Earlier, Reid ran an impressive 4x100m leg although a subsequent botched baton change meant the Northern Ireland quartet failed to finish at the Mary Peters Track.

Reid will be part of another Northern Ireland attempt to achieve the Commonwealth Games relay standard of 39.70 seconds at the London Anniversary Games on Sunday, when paralympic star Jason Smyth will again be part of the team.

Seventeen-year-old high jumper Sommer Lecky was the only Northern Ireland athlete to achieve a Commonwealth Games consideration standard at Wednesday's meeting as she jumped 1.83m.

It was the third occasion that the Strabane Grammar School student has bettered the Commonwealths mark of 1.82m.

Christine McMahon
Christine McMahon was outside the Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles consideration standard

McMahon still searching for Gold Coast standard

Christine McMahon is still searching for the Gold Coast 400m hurdles standard (57.30) as she clocked 58.30 seconds in winning her race.

In the women's 100m hurdles, Northern Ireland pair Mollie Courtney and Megan Marrs took a victory apiece in their two meetings while Ben Reynolds won the men's high hurdles in 13.82 seconds.

Marrs improved her personal best to 13.54 seconds in the heats - only 0.09 outside the Commonwealths standard - but Courtney won the final in 13.51 as Marrs clocked 13.72.

Courtney has already achieved the Commonwealth consideration standard on one occasion.

One of the most content athletes of the night was paralympic star Michael McKillop who warmed up for his IPC World Championships challenge later this month by clocking his fastest 800m time since 2013 with a 1:58.25 clocking.

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