News from our Foreign Correspondent!
DSD’s John Eves brings us up to date on three DSDers in the US and Europe. Síofra Cleirigh Büttner, Georgie Hartigan and Seán Roth have been hard at work through the spring and early summer competing in the US and across Europe. Seán gained valuable experience on the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) circuit, competing almost every weekend from the start of April through to the end of May – not bad for a man whose season was blighted with illness! Some highlights included a 5.12m vault for 2nd place at the Louisville Invitational on April 3rd, finishing 5th at the ultra-competitive ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Championships in Raleigh on 13th May and qualifying for the NCAA regional championships in Jacksonville at the end of May where his season came to a close. Seán is taking a break from training and competition now to regather for the 2022 season. Following a stint of altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona, both Síofra and Georgie have had busy racing schedules over the past few weeks as they chase the automatic qualifying standard of 1:59.50 (for the 800m) or ranking points for the Tokyo Olympics. Síofra picked up big points with a 2:02.71 3rd place in Florida last weekend. Owing to the vagaries of the points system, her season's best 2:01.94 was worth less points but still contributed a solid mark to her ranking. Síofra is now in London with some races around Europe lined up before the national championships in a couple of weeks. Highlight of Georgie's season so far has been setting a new Club record 2:00.18 at the Belfast Irish Milers Club meet on 29th May. This puts Georgie second on the Irish all-time list just behind Ciara Mageean's national record of 1:59.69 which may be on borrowed time at this stage. Georgie has also picked up good points in Prague last weekend 2:02.13 for 4th and in Marseille mid-week with 2:01.23 for 5th. For those who like their sports bureaucracy like their tiramisu – dense, opaque and best consumed in small amounts – the points ranking system could probably be put on a pedestal alongside cricket's Duckworth Lewis, VAR or one of the GAA's committees...as for now with 48 places available, Síofra is ranked 52nd and Georgie 57th, both just one big run away from breaking into the top 48. The rankings are updated every Wednesday so keep an eye here: https://www.worldathletics.org/stats-zone/road-to/7132391?eventId=10229512 Qualification closes at the end of this month meaning the National Championships will provide the final opportunity to bag a standard or pick up points – a fitting place to book an Olympic spot. John Eves, London (13 June 2021)