Athletics: Ireland U20 team arrive in Spain for DNA competition

by Gazette Reporter
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Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) is European Athletics initiative which will see 6 nations compete against each other in a two-hour long team competition.

The match, which will take place at midday in Madrid’s Gallur Municipal Sports Centre, will feature more than 100 athletes from the Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Portugal and hosts Spain.

Athletics Ireland views this event as a development event that presents an opportunity for athletes to gain valuable international exposure, while providing a preparation opportunity ahead of the 2023 European U20 Championships which take place in Israel later this year..

Spain and Great Britain have sent strong teams to this year’s DNA meet in Madrid, but expect to see some strong showings from the Irish athletes across the two hour schedule.

A fascinating three-way battle is in store in the women’s 60m with Ireland’s Lucy-May Sleeman (Leevael AC) leading the way having clocked 7.35 last month.

 Sleeman will come up against British sprinter Renee Regis, who won a 100m bronze at last summer’s European Athletics U18 Championships and gold in the medley relay, and Spain’s Elena Guiu, a finalist in the 2022 World U20 100m, and both these women have improved to 7.39 over 60m this year.

Elizabeth Ndudi (Dundrum South Dublin) looks a leading contender for the women’s long jump after her national senior title at the weekend. The DSD star is currently number three in the 2023 world U20 lists.

Ndudi leapt 6.28m to win the Irish senior national title on Sunday but, once again, Spain could also have a say in the destination of the points in an event where tactics could come into play, having named 2022 European U18 bronze medallist Laura Martinez, who has a best of 6.28m, in their team.

Performance Pathway Manager Jacqui Freyne commented, “This is a great opportunity for the u20 athletes to compete internationally and to continue to build on the foundations laid down by their Personal coaches & clubs. 

“This is a strong team, with a mix of experience & some first-time caps. We are grateful to European Athletics for affording us this opportunity to compete as one of the six invited countries”.

A fascinating three-way battle is in store in the women’s 60m with Ireland’s Lucy-May Sleeman leading the way having clocked 7.35 last month.

FEATURED IMAGE: 19 February 2023; Lucy-May Sleeman of Leevale AC, Cork, competing in the senior women’s 60m during day two of the National Senior Indoor Championships at National Indoor Arena in Dublin.

Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

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