Athletics

Long Wait For Great Britain To Ireland Switch Nearly Over For Leon Reid

Long Wait For Great Britain To Ireland Switch Nearly Over For Leon Reid

UPDATE

On the 3rd August it was officially confirmed that Reid has been cleared to represent Ireland.

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A year-and-a-half after he submitted his application to switch his allegiance from Great Britain to Ireland, Leon Reid's dream of running for Ireland look like it is finally about to come true.

In February of last year, the IAAF council froze athlete transfers as it attempted to find a way to stop athlete trafficking. Bath-born Reid - whose birth mother is from Belfast - had his application held up as a result.

On Friday, following a meeting of the council in Buenos Aires, IAAF president Seb Coe announced that transfers will once against be allowed under new rules:

- a minimum three-year waiting period before an athlete may transfer to represent another Member;

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- establishment of a review panel to make determinations on the credibility of applications;

- the provision of evidence that countries are offering full citizenship and associated rights;

- the provision that an athlete can transfer only once; and

- that no transfers take place before the age of 20.

It's good news for 24-year-old Reid who believes he meets the criteria.

Speaking to Balls ahead of the National Championships at Morton Stadium in Santry, Reid said he now expects the transfer to go through.

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There will be an anxious wait to see if it happens in time for the European Athletics Championships which takes place in Berlin between August 7th - 12th.

Coe said on Friday that the new transfer review panel will endeavour to process applications in time for the championships.

Reid has been helped with his application by Athletics Ireland Performance Operations Manager, Gill Brosnan.

Me and Gill at Athletics Ireland have already resubmitted the application the week before last.

They wanted fresh papers. We've sent off everything. So, hopefully, I'm on top of the list.

I spoke to them in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago over the phone and they were like, 'Nothing's going to be promised but as soon as we have that meeting, everything needs to be sent in'.

Last time, they were like, 'We haven't got this, we haven't go that'. We were like, 'You have but obviously it's been sent anywhere and everywhere and to other people'. We got it all together and sent it to one person and maintained contact there. It should be fine.

Though it has been a frustrating time for Reid - who won 200m bronze for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year - he's not blaming anyone.

"It's been out of everyone's hands. It's not anyone's fault. It's just bad luck, rubbish timing. Now that we've got a date, it's full steam ahead."

It has been a busy week for Reid. He will run in the 100m and 200m for Wexford club Menapians AC at the National Championships. After winning 60m and 200m golds at the National Indoors in February, he's again looking to do the double.

He has already run faster than the Irish 200m record this year, clocking a new personal best of 20.27 in Birmingham at the beginning of the month.

Given that Carlow man Marcus Lawler has run 20.40 this year - moving to number two on the all-time Irish list - it should be a great battle between them in the 200m on Saturday.

Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

See Also: Ireland's Fastest Woman Ever Reaping Benefits Of Move To Waterford

PJ Browne
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