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Amy Foster equals Irish record to qualify for World Indoors

Amy Foster has equalled the Irish indoor 60m record to qualify for March’s World Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham, writes Will Downing.

The City of Lisburn athlete clocked 7.30 seconds in winning at the London Indoor Games at Lee Valley to match the Irish record held by Ciara Neville and Anna Boyle.

It was 0.02 seconds inside her previous best of 7.32 set in Athlone in 2014.

Foster, who also holds a share of the Irish 100m outdoors record with Ailis McSweeney, had earlier clocked 7.42 in winning her opening round heat in London.

It’s a major fillip for the two-time Universiade finalist, after missing out on the 88-strong Northern Ireland squad for April’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

Foster said on Instagram: “The last three months were a nervous waiting game. The last three weeks I have been in a state of disbelief and devastation.

"Today I ran faster indoors than I ever have done before. Someone up there is looking after me.”

Neville’s mark was run in Athlone last year, with Boyle’s dating back to 2007, while competing at the European Championships in Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena – the same venue as March’s World Indoors.

It follows Phil Healy’s new 400m personal best of 52.08 set in Austria yesterday, qualifying her for that event on top of the 60m for Birmingham.

Healy took a whopping 1.1 seconds off her previous PB in winning at the Vienna Track & Field meeting, setting a new world lead for six hours before American Lynna Irby clocked 51.48 overnight in Fayettesville.

Fellow athlete Kieran Kelly – who finished fourth in his 1500m race – recorded Healy as clocking 24.61 seconds for her first 200m, and 27.48 for the second.

The Bandon AC sprinter also holds a 60m mark one-hundredth off the joint Irish record matched today in London by Foster, with sister Joan registering a time of 7.34 seconds herself this past week in Nantes to go sixth in the all-time Irish list.

Meanwhile, Adam McMullen has set a new Northern Ireland long jump record of 7.97m in Jordanstown, just three centimetres off Ciaran McDonagh’s Irish indoor record from 2006.

It puts the Commonwealth Games-bound athlete in the frame for the Irish squad for this summer’s European Athletics Championships in Berlin.

The World Indoors qualifying mark for Birmingham is 8.19 metres.

McMullen had opened his season with a solid 7.77 at the gala Ostrava meeting in the Czech Republic on Thursday.

And Finn Valley AC’s Sommer Lecky set a new Irish junior high jump record in retaining the Scottish senior indoor title at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, clearing 1.86 metres - five centimetres better than her previous record.