Magnificent day for St Peter’s in Belfast

Last weekend the Odyssey Arena in Belfast was the venue for the 2011 Irish Senior and Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships. Four athletes from St Peter’s AC were in action in the magnificent arena and they all produced performances to be proud of.

Last weekend the Odyssey Arena in Belfast was the venue for the 2011 Irish Senior and Ulster Juvenile Indoor Championships. Four athletes from St Peter’s AC were in action in the magnificent arena and they all produced performances to be proud of.

Emily Rogers made history by becoming the first ever athlete from the Dromiskin-based club to win a National Senior medal in indoor competition. The talented young athlete, who is still only 16 years old, took bronze in the Irish Senior Women’s High Jump on Saturday night.

Her best clearance of 1.60m was the same as that of the silver medallist, Caoimhe Basquille from Slí Cualann AC in County Wicklow, while victory went to Cathriona Farrell from Craughwell AC in County Galway, who scaled 1.70m.

A little earlier on Saturday evening Hilary Kerr had showed that she is returning to her best form, as she jumped 5.31m for 8th place in a very competitive Irish Senior Women’s Long Jump championship.

This is Hilary’s best distance since she set her personal best of 5.39m in 2009. One of Ireland’s leading athletes, Kelly Proper from Ferrybank AC in County Waterford, leapt 6.22m to claim victory in this event and she went on to win the 200m title on Sunday.

In the Ulster Juvenile Championships Mark Rogers exactly replicated his medal-winning feats in this same competition last year. The young Togher athlete got his weekend off to a good start with a bronze medal performance in the Under 16 60m Hurdles on Saturday afternoon. His time of 9.45 seconds easily bettered his previous PB of 9.61 seconds.

Mark returned to the Odyssey on Sunday morning to set another PB. This came in the 800m, in which he clocked 2:11.93 to better his previous mark of 2:12.62 and earn the silver medal. His third event, the High Jump, came straight after the 800m, but he was far too good for the rest of the field, with his best height of 1.70m easily good enough to seal the gold medal.

Martin McGrane had set a PB of 8.68m when taking silver in the Under-14 Shot Putt at the Leinster Indoor Championships in Nenagh the previous Sunday. Last Saturday afternoon in Belfast he went one better, as he improved to 9.06m to win the Ulster gold medal. He had a comfortable margin of 68cm to spare over the silver medallist, John Gibbons from Sliabh Liag AC in County Donegal.

This was possibly the last occasion for indoor athletics to be staged in the Odyssey Arena, as it is expected that the Irish Senior Championships will move to the new indoor track being constructed in Athlone, while the Ulster Juvenile Championships are likely to be staged at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt.

If that indeed proves to be the case, the four young athletes from St Peter’s AC will certainly retain fond memories of the final track and field competition in the Odyssey.

Are you interested in triathlons?

IF you’re interested in trying triathlons, you’ll now have an opportunity to meet with others who’ve taken the plunge in the past. Setanta Triathlon Club is holding social evenings every first Friday of the month. The first will take place at Riva in Earl Street on March 4 at 7pm. Anyone looking into the sport is welcome, and there is no obligation to join.

Members range from people who already excelled at either swimming, running or cycling to those who came off the couch and tackled the sport for fun, or to get in shape. Some members had to learn to swim when they set their sights on this multisport.

There are people who just do it for a laugh, and others who are very serious about triathlons and aim for top places when they race. Whatever your background or aims, you’re sure to find someone to chat to and discuss whatever questions you may have about this unique pastime.

For more information, you can email nadia@nadiawilliams.co.uk.