Leon Reid states case for transfer as he takes National 200m gold
Sprinter hopes to represent Ireland at European Championships in Berlin next month
Leon Reid takes the 200m ahead of Marcus Lawler. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Leon Reid gave his transfer of allegiance case a timely boost when winning a thrilling 200 metres on day one of the National track and field championships in Santry.
Having representing Great Britain at junior level, Reid has been requested a transfer to Ireland for the last two years, only for the IAAF, the governing body of world transfers, to put on freeze on all such transfers last year.
The Bath-born Reid, whose birth mother is from Belfast and holds an Irish passport, had his application held up as a result; that IAAF freeze has now been lifted pending certain conditions, and Reid is confident he’ll be running in green at the European championships in Berlin next month.
He had to work for the win here though, Marcus Lawlor from Carlow clear out of the blocks and leading down the straight, only for Reid to nail victory on the line in 20.76 seconds.
“That’s my strongest part,” said the 23 year-old Reid, who runs with Wexford Club Menapians AC. “I lost a bit on the bend, but it was fight, fight, fight, and I got through in the end.”
Reid has already run faster than the Irish 200m record this year, clocking a new personal best of 20.27 in Birmingham at the beginning of the month; he also won bronze in the 200m on the Gold Coast representing Northern ireland, and believes the decision is imminent to clear his path to compete in Berlin.
On Friday, following a meeting of the council in Buenos Aires, IAAF president Seb Coe announced that transfers will once against be allowed under new rules, including a minimum three-year waiting period before an athlete may transfer to represent another member, plus the establishment of a review panel to make determinations on the credibility of applications.
“We settled all the paperwork last week, so once it’s all ticked, I’m there, and hopefully all set for Berlin then.”
With the fine summer suddenly dissipating, the wet track and blustery conditions weren’t ideal for sprinting, but Phil Healy still made the most of it: qualified over three distances - 100m, 200m and 400m - but will aim for a 100-200m only - Healy won the 200m title here, winning in 23.64, ahead of Ciara Neville’s 24.27, with Catherine McManus edging out Niamh Whelan for bronze.
Stephen Scullion has qualified over the 10,000m and marathon distance for Berlin, and has opted for the shorter distance only, relatively speaking, and underlined his selection with a fine victory over 10,000m. It was his first national title at the distance, biding his time before hitting the front for the first time with two laps remaining, winning in 29:25.30.
The 29 year-old from Belfast, running for Clonliffe Harriers, has been enjoying a sort of second coming in his career, and will go to Berlin looking to mix it with European’s best over 10,000m, before reverting to the marathon with an eye on Tokyo 2020.
Mick Clohisey from Raheny did much of the early front running, followed by Scullion and Kevin Maunsell from Clonmel AC: it was Maunsell who first broke for home with four laps remaining, taking Scullion with him, the Belfast man having too much speed for both - with Clohisey coming back to beat Maunsell for silver on the run in.
“Yeah, that was good,” said Scullion. “I’ve [found the] meeting really hard, but that was kind of in that comfort joy, enjoy it, and then kick with two laps remaining. With 10 days out from the championship I wanted a hard effort for Berlin, having run 28:26 back in May.
“Once I knew I was well within the qualifying time I just dropped it down, did more specific track work. But I’ve been working really hard, training at altitude in the US, and put as much of it into the place
Thomas Barr, seeking an eighth consecutive national title in the 400m hurdles, went safely through to Sunday’s final, winning his heat in 51.12 seconds.
Among the titles that were decided on the day was the men’s 3,000m steeplechases, won by Adam Kirk-Smith from Derry Track Club, clocking 9:02.09, while Kate Veale won another senior title in the women’s 5km walk, winning in 22:19.22.