The AIT Grand Prix in Athlone last night produced an evening of real athletics magic for a sold-out crowd.
The atmosphere was electric as stand-out star Ciara Mageean outkicked Romanian rival Claudia Boboca in the TG4 Women’s 1500m with a tactically brilliant performance. Setting a new Irish and stadium record with a time of 4:06:78, the 26-year-old Olympian will race in the Irish Life Health National Indoor Championships this weekend before lining up at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March.
Rising talent Sarah Healy raced valiantly running a time 4:16:98, just outside her own personal best, but ultimately couldn’t catch the Irish superstar. It was a fairly unique way though to celebrate her 18th birthday.
Also flying the flag for Ireland was Mark English, who scooped first place in the highly competitive Midlands Print Men’s 800m.
Back to defend his Ericsson 400m title, Irish Olympian Thomas Barr narrowly missed out on first place to Dutch runner Tony Van Diepen who edged him out in a dramatic sprint finish. Portuguese Ricardo Dos Santos was third across the finish line with a time of 47.44, while Irishmen Leon Reid and Luke Lennon Ford were also on the start line.
Asia’s fastest man SU Bingtian who had travelled from his native China broke the stadium record in the heats with a slowing up 6.54. He bettered his performance in the final and yet again lowered the stadium record by bringing it down to 6.52 seconds.
Ireland’s John Travers chalked up yet another sub-four-minute-mile with a season-best of 3.58.48 in the AIT Men’s Mile though had to settle for fourth place in a very hot race.
Reigning Olympic Champion Thiago Braz de Silva was in the house for the Hodson Bay Group men’s pole vault event.
Ireland’s Molly Scott finishing second in the Alkermes 60M Sprint
In the women’s 400m, Great Britain’s Megan Beesley smashed the previous stadium record set by Diane Ramsey (53.87) in 2014, with a time of 53.00. Yet another stadium record was broken in the women’s High Jump with the previous record 1.81m being raised to 1.87m by Greek jumper Tatiana Gusin. The second step in the podium went to Ireland’s Phillipa Rogan who jumped an impressive 1.84m. Mexico’s Ximena Esquivel took home third place from Beth Partridge (GB) on countback with both clearing 1.80m.
All of last nights action was shown live on TG4.