Athletics Northern Ireland has announced a new event, the 'Brian Downing Memorial International' to be held on Wednesday 18th July as part of the Athletics Olympic Pre-Games Training Camp in Antrim. The international athletics meet will feature some of the athletes from Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait and Sudan who will be training at the Antrim Forum during July and August ahead of the London Olympic Games.
Alan Moneypenny Vice Chair of Sport Northern Ireland was on hand to launch the event along with Mayor of Antrim Paul Michael. Local athletes will have an opportunity to compete with some of the best and experienced athletes in the world such as middle distance athletes Abubake Kaki and Ayanleh Sulieman both likely to contest medals at the Olympic Games.
Athletics NI General Secretary John Allen said: "We are very pleased to be able to welcome so many Olympic athletes to Antrim for their final preparation before going to London. This event will be one of their final competitions before the Games and it will be a great encouragement to our own athletes to be able to take part in a local meeting alongside such high quality athletes. We are sure this opportunity and the experience it provides will be of great benefit to our athletes as their athletics careers progress".
DCAL Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín said: "It is a pleasure to launch an event which will see world-class athletes come to the north of Ireland and test their skills against local talent.
"While some of the competitors will be focused on the Olympic Games, this event will also inspire many homegrown athletes striving for their own success. I'm sure the sense of excitement among participants is echoed by fans of all ages who are looking forward to seeing the top-class performances in Antrim.
"I hope this competition will bring out the best in everyone who takes part, and be a positive step towards their athletic goals whether it is a personal best or an Olympic medal."
Sport Northern Ireland Vice Chair commented: "Sport Northern Ireland is delighted to welcome this event which will take place as part of the Athletics Pre-Games Training Camp at the Antrim Forum. Local athletes and spectators will enjoy watching some of the world's best compete and train on their doorstep, which is a great inspiration and legacy from the London 2012 Games".
The event is being organised by Athletics NI in conjunction with the Lagan Valley Athletics Club. There is a prize fund for each senior race of £250 going to the top 6 and with the winner getting £100. Online entry and entry forms are available at Athletics NI on www.athleticsni.org and the closing date is Monday 9th July. The Meet will start at 7.00pm and include a large selection of track and field events.