Sprinter Leon Reid in Irish athletics team for Tokyo Olympics

Phil Healy entered in three track events with 27 athletes qualified for this month’s Games

Leon Reid has been named in the Irish Athletics team for the Tokyo Olympics. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) has announced the now completed ratification of 22 individuals for the athletics events at the Tokyo Olympics, which set to begin in just two weeks’ time.

Six further athletes have also been named as part of the 4x400m mixed relay, one of which is Phil Healy, who is also selected over the 200m and 400m - and with that set to become the first Irish women to compete in three track events at the same Olympics.

Also set to make his Olympic debut for Ireland is 200m sprinter Leon Reid. There had been some doubt over his selection: early last month, the 26-year-old sprinter appeared at Bristol Crown Court (along with 17 other defendants) via video link where he denied eight charges relating to drugs and firearms offences in England. A preliminary hearing is expected later this month, the trial is not expected to begin until November at the earliest.

However Reid won the Irish 200m title in Santry later in the month, moving himself up to 42nd in the rankings (with 56 invited), and after being nominated by Athletics Ireland, his selected was only ratified by the OCI after a successful appeal. Reid previously represented Great Britain at underage level, his 20.27 from Birmingham in 2018 ranking him number one on the Irish all-time list.

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“Today was all about cementing that place, I’ve done everything I possibly can,” Reid said after winning the national title, before later adding that Olympic selection would mean “everything” after all he’s been through.

It makes for 27 names in all, and compares favourably against the 17 who qualified for the athletics events in Rio 2016. Such was the long and convoluted qualification system in track and field - on top of one-year postponement of the Games themselves - that at times the whole thing felt like a moveable feast: until midnight on Tuesday June 29th, which was the cut-off date for the Tokyo qualifying standards or ranking points that ultimately decided the case.

Rhasidat Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley were considered strong contenders to make the 4x400m mixed relay team, only to miss out. In May the Marathon and 50km Race Walk team was announced, with seven athletes set to compete in Sapporo; Thursday’s announcement now completes the 11 athletes who achieved qualification standards in their respective events, plus the 11 who finished within the rankings.

After that close of business, 11 Irish athletes found themselves inside the ranking quota for their events: on the women’s side these were Healy (200m and 400m), Nadia Power, Síofra Cléirigh Büttner and Louise Shanahan (all 800m), Sarah Healy (1,500m) Sarah Lavin (100m hurdles) and Eilish Flanagan (3,000m steeplechase). On the men’s side there were four more: Reid and Marcus Lawler (both 200m), Andrew Coscoran (1,500m), and David Kenny (20km walk).

Of those 11 qualifying by ranking, all will be making their Olympic debut, the youngest of which is Healy, the 1,500 runner only turning 20 in February. Power is just 23, Coscoran also poised for his first Olympics in the 1,500m aged 25.

Thomas Barr is also back looking to improve on his fourth place in the 400m hurdles in Rio 2016: “The men’s 400m hurdles is one of the most competitive events on the track at the moment and I can’t wait to line up and compete against the best on the biggest stage in the world,” said Barr.

Team Ireland athletics team

Individuals

Thomas Barr (400m Hurdles)

Síofra Cléirigh Büttner (800m)

Andrew Coscoran (1500m)

Mark English (800m)

Michelle Finn (3,000m Steeplechase)

Eilish Flanagan (3,000m Steeplechase)

Phil Healy (200m/400m/400m Relay)

Sarah Healy (1500m)

David Kenny (20km Walk)

Sarah Lavin (100H)

Marcus Lawler (200m)

Ciara Mageean (1500m)

Nadia Power (800m)

Leon Reid (200m)

Louise Shanahan (800m)

Paul Pollock (men’s marathon)

Stephen Scullion (men’s marathon)

Kevin Seaward (men’s marathon)

Fionnuala McCormack (women’s marathon)

Aoife Cooke (women’s marathon)

Brendan Boyce (50km walk)

Alex Wright (20km)

Mixed 4 x 400m Relay Team (four athletes from the following six):

Cillin Greene

Chris O’Donnell

Phil Healy

Sophie Becker

Robert McDonnell

Cliodhna Manning

Team Ireland now consists of 114 officially selected athletes, making this the largest team to represent Ireland yet. There is one remaining team announcement (Judo) which will take place on the 12th July. The Olympic Games in Tokyo will run from the July 23rd to August 2021 8th.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics