World Class Athletics Returning to AIT in February AIT International Grand Prix – Where World Champions are made
World class athletics will return to Athlone Institute of Technology again this February 21st with the fifth AIT International Grand Prix. The event has over the past four years attracted the cream of world athletics and the 2018 event will be no different as the recently crowned World
High Jump Champion Mutaz Essa Barshim will be back in town. His appearance at the AIT International Grand Prix will add to the excitement of the event as last weekend Barshim was named IAAF 2017 World Athlete of the Year. Irish interest will be stirred as Thomas Barr is lined up to run the 400m.
The 5th International Grand Prix is a celebration of the world champions that have competed at the event since its inception and what an impressive list of world champions it is! The first big headliner for the inaugural event in 2014 was the now retired Ashton Eaton, the World & Olympic Champion at the time. Six stadium records were broken as big time athletics came to Athlone IT for the first time since the opening of the AIT International Arena. This event put the AIT Grand Prix on the map internationally as word spread inside the international athletics community that AIT had a ‘fast track’.
Three international stars, namely, Mutaz Essa Barshim, Carmelita Jeter and Asafa Powell made their presence felt in 2015. Powell unfortunately picked up an injury in warm-up and was forced out of the competition. Barshim ultimately stole the limelight as he broke the Asian indoor record with a jump of 2.41m. He then had three valiant but ultimately
unsuccessful attempts at 2.44m which would have broken the world record of 2.43m set by Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor in 1989. If the AIT International Grand Prix was not already a world renowned event before 2015, Mutaz Barshim ensured that it was now a globally recognised event.
Big headliners were recruited again in 2016 and the novel addition of the Pole Vault event attracted world class competitors. Canadian world champion Shawn Barber battled it out with American Sam Kendricks before achieving ultimate success with a best jump of 5.77m to smash the stadium record. Barbers compatriot, and world silver medallist, Melissa Bishop didn’t disappoint the fans as she won the 800m race in a time of 2.00.60. The best however was kept for last as Ethiopian Dawit Wolde dominated the men’s mile as he also broke the Ethiopian indoor 1500m record when posting 3.37.86. This time was also a world lead.
The women’s 60m hurdles has been a staple annual discipline on the AIT GP programme and this was no different in 2017 as former olympic champion Sally Pearson opted to come to Ireland to relaunch her career after injury. Pearson showed all her class & technique but only came third as Christina Manning ran a stadium and all comer’s record of 7.82. Pearson, however, progressed to the World Outdoor Championships in London where she claimed Gold. Pearson in fact named the AIT GP as her launch pad for her successful season.
The only guarantee that the organisers of the AIT International Grand Prix can give is that the event will as always be spectacle. A host of big names will be added to join Barshim and Barr in the coming weeks and this will be a great opportunity for sports fans to witness world class athletics on their doorstep. Tickets are €20.00 for seated and
€10.00 for standing and are on sale at http://www.aitsport.ie/ait-grand-prix/ Tickets would make a lovely Christmas present for the sporting enthusiast in
Ticket Info: AIT International Grand Prix 2018
Event Date: Wednesday the 21st of February 2018
Doors Open: 6pm Event Start: 6.30pm
Ticket Prices: Seated €20 & Standing €10