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6 NI Athletes on the Road to Tokyo

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

Last night the Olympic Federation of Ireland announced the Irish Athletics team which will compete at the Tokyo Olympics from 23rd July- 8th August 2021, with six athletes from Northern Ireland selected to take part.

NI Commonwealth Bronze medallist, Leon Reid, selected for the 200m, has a personal best time of 20.27 and his ranking points sat comfortably within the Olympic Qualification of the top 56 World requirement.

Photos from Northern Irish Athletes

Leon Reid 100m

European Cross Country team silver medallist, Eilish Flanagan, selected for the 3000m Steeplechase, set her NI record of 9:40.68 in May in Eugene, Oregon and went onto secure her selection with a 2nd place finish at the Spitzen Leichtathletik meet in Lucerrne where she gained crucial ranking points.

Eilish Flanagan 3000m Steeplechase

Three-time European Medallist, Ciara Mageean, selected for the 1500m, will be going to Tokyo following her 10th place finish at the 2019 World Championship 1500m where she earned her NI record in a time of 4:00.15.

Ciara Mageean 1500m

They will join the NI Marathon runners who were announced last month by the Olympic Federation, and all received automatic qualification by falling within the qualification time of 2:11.30. Paul Pollock ran 2:10.25 in Valencia and was followed by Kevin Seaward with 2:10.09 in Seville while Stephen Scullion secured his place in London last October with an Irish record time of 2:09.49.

Paul Pollock Marathon

Stephen Scullion Marathon

Kevin Seaward Marathon

The team of six will be the biggest representation from Northern Ireland since the 1988 team. The below graph shows the numbers of NI athletes that competed at the Olympics since 1928. Thanks to John Glover for providing these statistics.

*Before the late 1980s athletes tended to compete for GB&NI. It wasn’t until 1998 that athletes could compete for Ireland without losing their eligibility for Northern Ireland.

Jackie Newton, Director of Coaching and Athlete Development said, “Huge congratulations to our six athletes, their coaches and support teams on their selection for the 2021 Olympic Games. I have the greatest admiration for what they have achieved in what has been the longest-ever Olympic cycle. We have been working with the athletes, coaches and service providers, over the last cycle and we know how much work, dedication and determination they have had to put in along with detailed planning including plan A, B and sometimes C to make sure they have hit the right times in the right races to secure their selections. We want to wish them all the best now as they get on with their final preparations and for when they get out there to the Games. We will enjoy cheering them on from back here in Northern Ireland and look forward to celebrating their performances.”

Northern Irish Athletes Selected:

Athlete Kevin Seaward Club St Malachy’s AC/ Cardiff AC Coach Andy Hobdell

Event Marathon

Athlete Paul Pollock Club Annadale Striders/ Kent AC Coach Andy Hobdell

Event Marathon

Athlete Stephen Scullion Club Clonliffe Harriers/ Under Armour

Coach Stephen Haas Event Marathon

Athlete Leon Reid Club Menapians AC/ Birchfield Harriers

Coach James Hillier Event 100m

Athlete Ciara Mageean Club City of Lisburn AC/ Team New Balance

Coach Steve Vernon Event 1500m

Athlete Eilish Flanagan Club Carmen Runners AC/ Adams State Uni

Coach Damon Martin Event 3000m Steeplechase

The full Irish Athletics team can be seen on the Athletics Ireland website here:

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