Tomorrow the fourth annual AIT International Grand Prix will get underway at 6:30pm. The doors at the arena will open at 6pm and it is expected to be a great evening of athletics with so many big names on show.
President of Athlone Institute of Technology Professor Ciaran O’Catháin spoke to Shannonside reporter Eoghan Murphy about tomorrows event
“Tomorrow night is going to be a great night”
“What we’re finding out is athletes are ringing us to be here”
The event is growing each year and is no surprise to hear that some of the world’s best athletes are looking to compete at the Grand Prix. The event ranks 14th out of 600 indoor meets under the IAAF criteria.
After tomorrow night Ciaran is hoping to see it be in the top ten which would really boost AIT and Athlone on the world scene of indoor athletics.
The biggest name at this year’s event is the 2012 Olympic gold medallist Sally Pearson of Australia. Sadly Sally was unable to defend her title at the Rio games due to injury but is looking to bounce back and show her dominance in 2017.
She told Eoghan of her thoughts from coming back from injury and being here at Athlone
“It’s an exciting ride for me cause I have come back from a bad hamstring injury which I got before the Rio Olympics so being able to be strong and be fit and be fast is exciting”
The past two years have been far from ideal for the Australian as she missed the 2015 World Championship, the 2016 indoor World Championship and the 2016 Olympics so she has had to fight her way back to fitness
“I really had to work hard and be strong to want to come back and be the best again so I’m on that journey back”
It’s Sally first time in Ireland and she will be looking forward to showing the public what she can. Another athlete that will be looking forward to show what she can do is Irelands Ciara Mageean.
The bronze medallist from the European Championship last year spoke of how well things have been going for since then
“It’s been going well there wasn’t much time to celebrate as I had to knuckle back down for the Olympic Games”
The Portafeery athlete has had a good winters training done and is feeling in very good shape for tomorrow’s event.
One thing Ciara will be delighted about is not having to make a long distance travel for such a competitive event like this
“To have one right on your own doorstep and be able to put together a world class field here in Athlone is really second to none”
It is sure to produce some great races tomorrow and who knows records could be broken.