The Athlone IT International Grand Prix is always a very special night on the athletics calendar and never more so than in an Olympic year.
All eyes will be on Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera tonight as he opens his 2020 campaign with a World Record attempt for the Indoor Mile.
Tefera already holds the 2018 World Indoor record in the 1500 meters and will attempt to break the Mile record of 3:47.01 set last year by fellow countryman Yomif Kejelcha.
Young, up-and-coming Irish talent Darragh McElhinney, who took bronze at last summer’s Euro U20 Championship, will also be competing in the hotly anticipated race.
Elsewhere, Phil Healy (IRE) will be leading the line-up in the 200m as she looks to secure ranking points for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Healy will face still competition from national 200meter champions Jessica Bianca-Wessoly (GER), Estela Garcia (ESP) and Nicky Van Leuveren (NED).
The Men’s Pole Vault is also one to watch as reigning national champions from Norway, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Finland go head to head.
The best of the Irish sprinters will compete in the 60meters, among them Gina Akpe Moses, Lauren Roy, Sarah Quinn, Molly Scott, Ciara Neville, Joan Healy, Rhasidat Adeleke and Niamh Whelan.
The Irish athletes will take on former European Indoor champion and current Euro Indoor Bronze medallist Asha Philip (GBR), Spanish 60m champion Estela Garcia and European U23 200m champion Sindija Buksa (LAT).
Yunier Perez (ESP), who has a PB of 6.49, will go up against British 100m Champion Ojie Edoburun in the Men’s 60m.
Edoburun will be making his AIT International Grand Prix debut alongside former British indoor 60m champion Andy Robertson – both of whom will be looking to make fast times and get ranking points.
In the Men’s 400 m, Olympian Thomas Barr is set to face a tough race against three time World and European Indoor champion Pavel Maslak (CZE).
Last year’s winner and Euro Indoor Championship Bronze medallist Tony Van Diepen (NED) is also set to return.
Former World champion over the hurdles Dai Greene (GBR), former European 400m Champion Martyn Rooney (GBR) are the experienced athletes who will look to get one over on the younger upstarts which include Guy Learmonth (GBR), Elliot Giles (GBR), Zak Curran (IRE) and European medallist and home crowd favourite Mark English.
Joanna Jozwik, who finished 5th in the Olympic Games and who also holds the fastest 800m PB in the field with 1:57.37, is up against Euro U23 Champs bronze medallist Nadia Power (IRE), Adelle Tracey (GBR) and Mari Smith in the Women’s 800m.
The Women’s 3000m race will be set up for Ciara Mageean to chase an Irish indoor record, currently held by Mary Cullen with 8:43.
Ethiopian 3000m Champion Kasanesh Buze is expected to push Mageean hard for the win along with Camille Buscomb (NZL), Kriistina Maki (CZE) and Rosie Clarke – all of whom are sub 8:55 athletes.
This night is a treat for any athletics fan and for those who appreciate sporting excellence, bringing Athone Institute of Technology to the forefront of European and World athletics.
It will be broadcast live on TG4 this evening.