Five days after the cancellation of the National Indoor Championships, Athletics Ireland have moved quickly to fill those vacant dates on their calendar with a 'micro meet' for invited elite competitors only.
The event will help to provide qualification opportunities and preparation races for the European Indoor Athletics Championships which are scheduled to take place in Torun, Poland from 5 to 7 March.
More than a dozen Irish athletes have qualified to run at those championships including Mark English and Ciara Mageean who were both bronze medalists at the last European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in 2019.
Phil Healy, a semi-finalist at the World Indoors Championships over 400 metres in Birmingham in 2018, is also said to be keen to run in Torun.
The confirmation by Athletics Ireland of the ‘micro meet’ came after weeks of negotiations with the Sport Ireland Expert Group which in turn secured Government approval for the event to take place in just over a fortnight’s time at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown.
Entry will be restricted to athletes tracking towards Olympic Games qualification and European Indoor Championships qualification, including senior relay panels, and invitations will be issued in the coming days.
It’s anticipated that as few as 60 athletes will take part over the two days at Abbotstown with the arena emptied after each race or session.
The event will be used for European Indoor qualification purposes and for the attainment of Category E World Ranking points for all those athletes working towards Tokyo qualification.
A small number of additional athletes may be invited to ensure the event is compliant with international permit requirements so that all results are valid for qualification purposes.
The participation of each athlete must be approved by Government via the Sport Ireland Expert Group.
Negotiations have been ongoing for a number of weeks in anticipation of the National Championships being cancelled principally with the needs of elite athletes requiring competition to enable qualification in mind.
Athletics Ireland will ensure the safety of all athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, and staff takes priority during this event.
Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland said: "It is a privilege for us to be allowed to host this micro event and we thank Sport Ireland and the Government for their backing and trust of Athletics Ireland".