Lifford Strabane AC’s Brendan O’Donnell is this week preparing for his biggest test yet when he competes for Ireland in the Hammer Throw at the inaugural European Youth Athletics Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia on Thursday morning.
O’Donnell flew out from Dublin Airport on Sunday morning with a 30 strong Irish team, arriving in Tbilisi late on Sunday night. The Lifford Strabane AC athlete is familiar with the Georgian capital having competed there in last year’s European Youth Olympics where he finished a magnificent 7th in the Hammer final. The winner then was Ukranian, Myhalo Havrylyuk and indeed the Ukranian is favourite to take the title again this time around.
O’Donnell, who is coached by his father, John, has a best throw this season of 67.72m which he achieved last month at the Mary Peter’s Track in Belfast. He will be hoping to better this mark in Tbilisi and were he to do so in Thursday morning’s semi-final, it would put the St. Eunan’s College student with a great chance of making Friday evening’s Hammer Throw final which takes place at 3.00p.m. Irish time.
At just 16 years of age, Donegal’s top hammer thrower has already left an indelible mark on the event at his local club with several young athletes taking up hammer throwing as a result of his exploits and aiming to follow in his footsteps. Training mate, Conor Breslin, for example, this weekend heads to Kent in England to compete for the Irish Schools team at the S.I.A.B. Schools International while Lifford Strabane AC also had the distinction of winning 3 of the 4 Hammer Throw gold medals up for grabs at last weekend’s All Ireland Juvenile Track and Field Championships in Tullamore.
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