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Nick Griggs Spearheads Team Ireland At The World U20 Champs

Nick Griggs Spearheads Team Ireland At The World U20 Champs
By Rory Cassidy Updated

Nick Griggs will spearhead a strong Irish team of seven athletes at this week's World U20 Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia.

Ireland didn’t send any athletes to these championships in Kenya last year but in 2018 in Tampere, Finland came away with two silver medals.

Patience Jumbo-Gula, Gina Akpe-Moses, Ciara Neville, and Molly Scott claimed medals in the Women’s 4x100m relay, with a then 15-year-old Rhasidat Adeleke missing the final through injury, while Sommer Lecky mounted the podium in the High Jump.

The Irish team in Cali will be hoping that they can join the list of Irish athletes who have medalled in these championships down the years and then go onto achieve even bigger things in the future.

Here, Balls.ie previews the athletes heading out to South America.

Nick Griggs – 3000m

Nick Griggs has fast become a household name with Irish athletics fans since he broke onto the scene by winning the European U20 3000m last summer. The Tyrone man has an electric turn of pace and has shown it time after time.

He has also overcame adversity and personal loss, losing his younger brother Joshua in a tragic workplace accident just six weeks before he won European gold last summer. In an interview with Belfast Live last year Griggs described his brother as his “biggest influence and biggest supporter”.

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The 17-year-old has continued his success from last year into 2022. In March he ran a sensational time of 3.56.40 for the Mile Indoors. Most recently Griggs ran a sensational time of 7.53.40 over 3000m to become the first ever Irish U20 to break eight minutes for the distance.

He will fancy his chances in Colombia, as he heads into the championships ranked in the top ten U20s in the world for the distance this year and on the back of winning another national title at the Junior Championships last month in Tullamore.

Callum Morgan – 3000m

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Morgan is a training partner of Griggs, with both athletes being coached by Mark Kirk. Formerly a member of St. Malachy’s AC in Belfast, Morgan has now switched his allegiances to the recently established Candour Track Club. The club was established earlier this year by Irish international 800m athlete Katie Kirk and are based at the Mary Peter’s Track.

Morgan ran a personal best of 8.10.02 to qualify for these championships in Loughborough, England back in May and has also ran a 5000m PB this year. He is in the form of his life before heading to Colombia.

Dean Casey – 5000m

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Casey is another superb talent coming through the Irish system at the moment. The Ennis man finished 13th in the U20 race at the European Cross Country Championships in Abbotstown last December and was part of the Irish team that won silver that day.

Back in May, Casey ran a new Irish U20 record over 10,000m in London clocking 28.57.34. Before this year the record had lasted 52 years and was held by Frank Greally. The 18-year-old has ran 14.02.28 for 5000m this season ranking him as the eighth fastest European U20 in 2022. Casey finished second in the 1500m at the Irish Junior Championships recently.

Lucy-May Sleeman – 100m & 200m

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It has been a breakthrough year for Cork sprinter Sleeman who has made major improvements this summer. The Leevale AC athlete won a sprint double at the Irish School Championships in early June and achieved the same feat at July's National Junior Championships.

As well as that, the 18-year-old finished fifth in the 100m at the National Senior Track and Field Championships in June. Sleeman has a 100m PB of 11.63s set last weekend and a 200m PB of 24.04s from Belgium back in May.

Lucy McGlynn – 100m Hurdles & 400m Hurdles

McGlynn finished third in the 400m Hurdles final at the National Senior Championships at the end of June and fourth in the 100m Hurdles. The Donegal athlete won double gold in the hurdles at the National Juvenile Championships in the U19 age group and at the Junior Championships in Tullamore in July.

McGlynn is coached by Eamon Harvey who also guided fellow Tír Chonaill AC athlete Fintan Dewhirst to a silver medal at the European U18 Championships in Jerusalem last month. The 17-year-old will be looking to improve on her PB's of 14.02s and 60.00s when she steps onto the world stage.

Nicola Tuthill – Hammer Throw

Tuthill returned from a long-term injury to win gold in the Hammer Throw at the National Junior Championships in July throwing 57.07m. The Bandon woman fractured and dislocated her elbow while competing for Ireland at the European Throwing Cup in March.

Tuthill won the National Senior title back in 2020 at the stage of 17 and has since gone on to record a PB of 61.55m at Morton Stadium last year. Her season's best of 60.92m was set in February before her injury and she will be hoping to improve it nearly six months later in Cali.

Reece Ademola – Long Jump

Ademola is another member of the team who has won national senior medals at such a young age. The Leevale athlete won a silver medal at the National Indoor Championships in February and has progressed massively this summer.

Ademola jumped a new PB of 7.68m at the Cork City Sports at the start of July which propelled him to fifth on the Irish senior All-Time list for the event. He also won gold recently at the National Junior Championships in Tullamore setting a new Championship record. Ademola will be looking to get close to the National U20 Record of 7.73m set by Ciaran McDonagh in 1995.

Medal Hopes

Nick Griggs is probably Ireland’s best shot at a medal as the only non-African in the worlds top ten in the event this year. Other athletes will be travelling to the championships and will gain valuable experience. If they could get through heats anything can happen in further stages. Reece Ademola is an athlete worth following closely. Only one Irishman has only ever jumped over 8m in the event and while it won’t happen in Colombia, Ademola is probably dreaming that he could become the second one day.

Team Ireland - Schedule 

Day 1 - 1st August

  • 07:45pm Reece Ademola men’s Long Jump (Qualifying)
  • 01:55am (Aug 2nd) Dean Casey Men’s 5000m (Final)

Day 2 - 2nd August

  • 05:25pm Lucy McGlynn Women’s 400mH (Heats)
  • 06:30pm Lucy May Sleeman Women’s 100m (Heats)
  • *10:15pm Reece Ademola Men's Long Jump (Final)

Day 3 - 3rd August

  • 05:11pm OR 06:38pm Nicola Tuthill Women’s Hammer Throw (Qualifying Group A OR B)
  • 03:00pm Nick Griggs Men's 3000m (Heats)
  • 03:15pm Callum Morgan Men's 3000m (Heats)
  • *09:05pm Lucy McGlynn Women's 400mH (Semi Finals)
  •  *10:05pm (August 4th) Lucy May Sleeman Women's 100m (Semi Finals)
  • *12:35am (August 4th) Lucy May Sleeman Women's 100m (Final)

Day 4 - 4th August

  • 03:05pm Lucy McGlynn Women’s 100mH (Heats)
  • 05:50pm Lucy May Sleeman Women’s 200m (Heats)
  • *10:15pm Lucy May Sleeman Women's 200m (Semi Finals)
  • *11:10pm Lucy McGlynn Women's 400mH (Final)

Day 5 - 5th August

  • *09:05pm Lucy McGlynn Women's 100mH (Semi Finals)
  • *09:11pm Nicola Tuthill Women's Hammer Throw (Final)
  •  *10:30pm (Aug 6th) Lucy May Sleeman Women's 200m (Final)
  • *11:04pm (Aug 6th) Nick Griggs & Callum Morgan, Men’s 3,000m (Final)

Day 6 - 6th August

*09:40pm Lucy McGlynn Women's 100mH (Final)

* = Subject to athlete progressing

SEE ALSO: 17-Year-Old Nick Griggs Sets Incredible New Euro U20 Indoor Mile Record

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