On the day when Laura Reynolds returned home from the World Student Games in China and Colin Griffin set to from Dublin Airport for South Korea for the World Championships, two young Leitrim walkers brought further success to the County in this event by winning both U-13 walks at the HSE National Community Games in Athlone IT on Sunday last.
It was an outstanding performance for the two walkers from the Mohill area but the bare result tells only part of the story of what was actually involved while there were also medals on Sunday for Ballinamore Area’s Ryan O’Rourke in the U-14 800m and Carrick Area’s Cathal McElgunn in the U-16 100m.
Mohill Area also brought home silver medals from last Sunday’s U-16 Girls Basketball Finals (see report) but there was quite a good deal of drama on the track!
Last year, Dearbhaile Beirne won the Gold medal in the Under 12 600m, an event in which she won the bronze the previous year. On Sunday she controlled the race from the start and went on to win from Aliosa King of Dublin, Niamh O’Connor of Kildare and Angharad Loughnane of Clare.
Her sister Michelle won this event in 2008 and also secured a silver medal as a member of the Mohill Under 16 Girls Basketball team.
The Boys walk was a much more controversial affair. On Saturday, James McNabola qualified from his heat in fourth position. Walking extremely well in the final, he was third over the line as the two ahead of him battled it out with apparently scant regard for the rules of race walking. The judges had no hesitation in disqualifying both, leaving McNabola as deserving winner.
However, the county whose athlete was first over the line lodged an objection in regard to the status of one of the judges.This was upheld by the Appeals Committee who ordered the event to be re run later in the day.
After much tooing and froing, the Walk was put on again at the end of the programme. This time the athlete who had been first over the line on the previous occasion was disqualified early on in the event.
It was now that McNabola come into his own, walking strongly and correctly he held off the challenge of Clare’s Gearoid McMahon to come home again in first position with David Kenny of Kerry third and Ryan Carr of Donegal fourth.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.