International Spotlight on Athlone

Athlone Institute of Technology is building a strong group of commercial partners to match the line up of international athletes heading to Ireland’s first indoor athletics stadium on Wednesday, February 21st.

The event has gone from strength to strength and will this year welcome back World Champion Sam Kendricks in Pole Vault and Mutaz Essa Barshim in High Jump.

Ireland’s own Thomas Barr will also be taking to the track this year. “I went along as a spectator last year and was blown away by the atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the crowd,” he told us yesterday in between taking the shot above.

“I decided then that I wanted to include this on my schedule for 2018 and I am really looking forward to it now.”


The event is a real winner for the area. Bashim will fly in on the Sunday before and spend five days in and around Athlone. His profile on the international stage has encouraged FloTrack to once again broadcast the event live across the US, and there will be deferred television coverage on the night this year on TG4 as well as around up the following weekend on eir Sport.

“This event is a fantastic asset for Athlone and the region,” said Aengus O’Rourke, Mayor of Athlone and MD of Midlands Print, one of the collections of new partners investing in the Grand Prix.

“We want to create events that will shine a spotlight on, and bring footfall to Athlone and this fits the bill in perfect fashion.”

Bringing in visitors is key to the marketing efforts of the Hodson Bay Group who operate the Hodson Bay Hotel and the Sheraton Hotel in the town.

“We invest in sport at local level because we understand the importance it has in people’s lives,” said Louise Campbell, Head of Group Marketing.

“Supporting this event is a double winner because of the global profile it delivers for the town and it is very exciting to be a part of.”

Another new partner this year is DPD, the logistics firm which is headquartered in Athlone and which has 38 depots around the country.


Sport is a major way in which international rivals like FedEx and DHL promote their services and speed and delivery of results are two key themes that the DPD marketing team of Aoife Kearney and Paul McLoughlin are keen to promote.

Bank of Ireland is on board as well, backing up their investment in athletics where they launched the second year of an impressive Talent ID programme last month.

“Bank of Ireland recognises the importance of giving young people opportunities to explore and develop their talents and we are proud to be playing a part in fostering the athletic talent of the future, ” said Ita Gray, Head of Longford and Westmeath at Bank of Ireland.

“The atmosphere in here on the night is magical,” said AIT President and former President of Athletics Ireland Ciaran O’Catháin.

“Gathering local partners to help us deliver the experience, and to put Athlone on the map internationally as a centre of sporting excellence, was always an important part of the plan when we decided to invest in the sport and the facility here.”

Sport for Business has put together a special “Experience” Package for Sport for Business members wishing to attend the AIT International Grand Prix on February 21st.

A Seated ticket, as well as a buffet meal and VIP hospitality beforehand, together with the chance to meet some of those athletes taking part, will cost €45 and also includes a commemorative programme.

It promises to be a special occasion. If you would like to join us on the night, simply drop us a line today and we will take care of the details.

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