Athletes from 152 countries will be competing in Doha, Qatar this weekend at the World Indoor Championships and two athletes from Ferrybank AC are among the Irish team – namely, Kelly Proper in the Long jump and Billy Ryan who is on the 4×400 metres relay panel.
Kelly is rated 21st in the world this year following her Irish record of 6.62 metres in Vienna in January. A few at top of the rankings are some way in front, but many more above her are only marginally better.
It’s felt that if Kelly, now on the biggest stage in her athletic career, can equal or who knows better her Irish record that will be sufficient to get her into the final which would be a major achievement.
The long jump is an event where getting the run-up and take-off to perfection can be quite difficult and in most competitions there are many ‘no jumps’ recorded by lots of the competitors.
If Kelly can get into the proper frame of mind and get in one big leap in the qualifying round on Saturday morning she could be on her way to a world final on Sunday. She certainly has the competitive spirit to give it a great go, so lets hope she does herself justice.
Billy is on the relay panel and that team includes David Gillick, but with Gillick likely to be still in the 400 metres individual race at the time of the relay heats (which will be run off on Saturday) Billy may in fact get the nod for a place on the team; again we hope he does and that the Irish runners progress.
Regardless of how things unfold in Qatar, all in Waterford athletics are proud to have them both present among the elite.
With Cork’s Derval O’Rourke forced to withdraw, Ireland’s big hope in Qatar will of course be Gillick in the 400m.