Pole vault world champ coming to Athlone

Canada’s reigning pole vault world champion Shawn Barber will compete at next month’s AIT International Grand Prix in Athlone. The year’s event is scheduled for Wednesday, 17th of February with doors opening at 6pm.

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Shawn Barber (left) speaking to television after winning the pole vault world title in Beijing, August 2015. Pic – Irish Sports Network

Another major medalist confirming their intention to compete at AIT is Melissa Bishop, who won 800m silver at the World Championships in Beijing in August, setting a PB of 1:57:52 at the Bird’s Nest.

Barber and Bishop will be joined by 2012 European 200m Champion Churandy Martina from the Netherlands, who will compete in the 60m. His PB in this event is 6.58 seconds which is two hundredths of a second faster than the stadium record set by Jamaican Winston Barnes.

Germany’s Gesa Krause will be back again to try and break the stadium record of 4:12.46 that she set last year in the women’s 1500m. Krause went on to win bronze in the is the 3000m Steeplechase in Beijing.

Other big names are expected to confirm in the coming weeks for another star-studded evening in the midlands venue.

Seven stadium records were broken at the 2015 event, when multiple all-comers records fell, while Mutaz Essa Barshim broke his own Asian record in making three attempts at the world indoor high jump record, while Ben Blankenship ran the first ever sub four minute mile indoors in Ireland.

According to AIT president Prof Ciarán Ó Catháin: “We have a really top field of athletes lined up again for the grand prix next month. In fact, the fields this year will be filled with a deeper level of talent than we have ever had.

“We are very excited about the event as are many athletics fans in Ireland. Ticket prices are a very competitive again this year. There are not many events in the world where you will witness such top class sportspeople at such prices (€20 and €10)”.

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