UCD's Mark English and Ciara Mageean will headline the GloHealth National Senior Indoor Championships this weekend at the AIT International Arena in Athlone.
Letterkenyn man English, is a late addition to the championships, having confirmed his participation today, with the 800m star having one eye on the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon on March 17th-20th.
The UCD medical student set an Irish indoor best over 500m of 60.83 seconds in Stockholm and was narrowly outside his national indoor 800m record of 1:46.82 when he finished second in Glasgow in 1:46.99 last Saturday (February 20th).
Despite not having the world indoor qualifying time of 1:46.50 he is still potentially eligible to compete. National governing bodies are allowed to send one female and one male to the world indoors if none have achieved qualifying standards. With no male qualifiers to date, Athletics Ireland is entitled to send one as result.
English will be the favourite to win his fourth national 800m title with Kieran Kelly (Raheny Shamrock), who has made big strides this indoor season running 1:48.82, looking like his closest challenger.
Ciara Mageean has been the star of the indoor season setting two national indoor records over the 1500m and the mile respectively. The Down native has been in exciting form as she builds towards the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She ran 4:08.66 in Dusseldorf for a new 1500m record and then finished sixth in the women’s Wannamaker mile in 4:28.40 to erase Roisin McGettigan’s 4:30.06 set back in 2009 in Boston.
She looks set to compete over 800m where she has a season's best of 2:04.90 but is also down for the 1500m. She won’t compete at the world indoors though as she is focusing on the outdoor season. Rose-Anne Galligan (Newbridge) has the 1500m standard for Portland and intends to compete but is unlikely to be in Athlone this weekend.