Athletics NI plans full summer programme with NI Championships taking place during Olympics

Stephen Scullion in action at the Northern Ireland Championships in 2013
Stephen Scullion will be in Japan preparing for the Olympic marathon on 8 August when the Northern Ireland Championships take place on in Belfast on 31 July

Athletics Northern Ireland plans to hold a full schedule of track and field events this summer which will include the Northern Ireland Championships taking place during the Olympics.

This follows the NI Executive's move to allow competitive sport to resume.

The Northern Ireland and Ulster Senior tests are scheduled for 31 July - a day after Olympic athletics events begin.

The season is scheduled to conclude on 10 September with the NI International EAP Meet at the Antrim Forum.

Top Northern Ireland athletes Ciara Mageean, Stephen Scullion, Kevin Seaward, Paul Pollock and Leon Reid will all hope to be in Japan either having begun their Olympic challenges or else involved in their final preparations for the Games when the Northern Ireland and Ulster Senior Championships take place on 31 July.

"The decision for the NI & Ulster Senior Championships to be hosted on 31 July was taken by the Track & Field Committee along with Athletics NI," Athletics Northern Ireland told BBC Sport NI.

"We have used almost every available weekend for some form of competition, as we know how greatly Covid has impacted our athletes over the past year.

"We are delighted to be able to offer these opportunities to all athletes, from those seeking Olympic or Commonwealth qualification times, right through to those at club level who may be taking their first steps into competition.

"Competitions will follow all the necessary social distancing protocols, and more details for each meet will be available on our website soon."

Athletics NI's programme of events will begin this Saturday when an elite 100m and 1500m meeting is staged at the Mary Peters Track.

A busy May is planned at the south Belfast venue which includes a Day of 5,000m races on 8 May and the Belfast Irish Milers Meet on 29 May which many current elite Irish athletes and a number of top Britons have entered.

Regular events will continue all the way through to early September, including the Northern Ireland and Ulster Age-Group Championships on 17-18 July at the Mary Peters Track before the senior championships take place at the south Belfast venue two weeks later.

In recent years, the Northern Ireland International EAP [European Athletics Promotion] Meet has been staged at the Mary Peters Track but the venue for the 2021 event on 10 September switches to the Antrim Forum.

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