Athletics

Phil Healy Smashes Irish 200m Indoor Record As Mageean And Barr Set PBs

Phil Healy Smashes Irish 200m Indoor Record As Mageean And Barr Set PBs

Phil Healy broke Ciara Sheehy's 17-year-old Irish 200m indoor record on home soil at the AIT Grand Prix on Wednesday evening.

The Bandon sprinter ran 23.10, beating Sheehy's 23.17. She won the race ahead of Jessica-Bianca Wessoly of Germany and Nikola Bendova of the Czech Republic.

"I'm buzzing to do it with a home crowd," she told TG4 after the race.

"It's such a great atmosphere, such a great meet. To get 23.10 and a national record is absolutely super.

"I love racing 200m indoor. I had a few things to correct from my last 200. That crowd to bring you home is absolutely unreal. You have to go to a major championships to have an atmosphere like this but we've got it on our doorstep, international fields.

"It's been a good winter. Last year, I had a hiccup along the way breaking my foot. I found it very hard to come back and get the consistency. We had a clear winter and now it's just about racing and having fun."

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In other notable Irish performances on the night, Ciara Mageean ran an outright personal best for the 3000m. She ran 8:48.27, improving her previous time by seven seconds, as she finished ahead of British duo Rosie Clarke and Beth Kidger. The time is also a stadium record for AIT indoor track. Mageean's time was just under five seconds off Mary Cullen's 11-year-old 3000m indoor record.

"You know what? I'm absolutely delighted," she told David Gillick on TG4's coverage of the meeting.

"I came here with the aim of going out and running fast, trying to get a PB. I achieved that, got a new stadium record. It's close to that Irish record I also wanted.

"It's held by a fantastic athlete in Mary Cullen and it's not something that's going to come easy. Mary holds onto it for a bit longer. I'm sure she'd love to see it handed on.

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"I have two PBs so far this season. It's a good way to start 2020.

"All you can do is take those incremental steps towards being your best. Coming out and running PBs at the beginning of the season is a step towards that. I'm a little bit woozy now but you're well-used to me throwing up near you and on you."

In the 400m Thomas Barr placed third and also ran a personal best. The Waterford man finished in 46.44 behind Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic in second and Tony van Diepen of the Netherlands in first. Barr's time puts him fifth on the Irish all-time indoor list, 0.92 of a second off David Gillick's national record.

"That was good fun," said Barr.

"I ran a pretty quick 300m during the week in training. I didn't have the legs for these two speed merchants but I stayed on my feet this year and came home with a PB, so I'm absolutely delighted. It's a really good benchmark for where I'm at this year."

Pictures: Sportsfile

See Also: Magic Scenes As 20-Year-Old Mondo Duplantis Breaks Pole Vault World Record

PJ Browne
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