World’s “Best Athlete” to Compete in AIT International Arena Grand Prix

Olympic gold medalist, Ashton Eaton, heads international field competing in Athlone on 26 February

 Ashton Eaton, the Olympic decathlon champion and world record holder, is the headliner at the AIT International Arena Grand Prix on 26 February. The 26-year-old, who was dubbed “the best athlete to ever walk the planet, hands down” at London 2012, is part of an international field – including Eaton’s wife Brianne Theisen-Eaton – that will compete in the AIT International Arena, Athlone. One of the highlights of the evening will undoubtedly be the Senator Eamonn Coghlan Mile, which is sure to attract a top-calibre field looking to run the first four-minute mile in the Athlone venue. A prize fund of €500 is on offer for the winner of the race if he achieves the elusive sub-four minute time. Amongst those already signed up to compete in the race are John Coghlan, David McCarthy, John Travers, and Joe Warne. President of AIT, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said: “The grand prix is attracting a growing list of national and international talent. People are really excited about the opportunity to see athletes who have succeeded at the highest level, whether that be in the Olympics, the World Championships or the European Championships. We’re really confident that this will be a sell-out event,” he said.

The AIT International Arena has established a reputation as a fast track, something which Prof. Ó Catháin says is proving to be “a decisive factor in attracting the sporting elite” to the midlands venue. “In the year since we opened the International Arena, new records are continuously being set, including most recently a new world record for over-60 in the 800m set by Joe Gough, as well as Mark English’s new national senior and u-23 indoor record in the 800m. Just last Friday, 12 indoor athletics intervarsity records were broken. That bodes well for some really keen times at the Grand Prix,” the president said. Events confirmed for the meet include the 60m, 400m, 600m, Senator Eamonn Coghlan Mile, 3000m, as well as the long jump, shot put and 60m hurdles. Amongst the international athletes competing at the AIT Grand Prix will be: Ashton Eaton (Olympic decathlon champion and world record holder), Brianne Theisen-Eaton (heptathlete, 2012 Olympian and 2013 World Championship silver medalist), Tabarie Henry (three-time World finalist – 400m), Shara Proctor (2013 Diamond League Champion, British indoor and outdoor record holder, 2012 World Indoor Bronze medalist – long jump), James Ellington (London 2012 Olympian, current 2xBritish 200m champion), Donald Sanford (fourth at European Championships in 2012 – 400m), Damar Forbes (2013 NCAA Champion and World finalist – long jump), Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (member of GBR 4x100m relay that won bronze at World Championships), and William Sharman (Captain of the GB athletics team and World 110m hurdles finalist). Further information about the AIT International Arena Grand Prix can be found at www.aitsport.ie. The event starts at 7pm on Wednesday 26 February. Tickets are priced at €10 for adults and €5 for children, and will be on sale on the door. Highlights of the event will be shown on Setanta Ireland. 

 

For further information contact: Brian Lynch Communications and Marketing Manager Athlone Institute of Technology Tel 090 644 2595 Email: brianlynch@ait.ie