The BAM Cork City Sports 2019 was a huge success with some thoroughly entertaining competition at the highest level of world athletics. Despite less that favourable weather conditions athletes put on a display of skill, speed and endurance to match some of the best athletics meetings in Europe. Some of the times were affected by swirling wind conditions and cold temperatures but this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the capacity crowds that turned out in support of this historic Cork event.
The 68th running of this event is rated as probably the best ever held at the CIT Stadium by athletics aficionado’s. Every event was packed with world class talent. However the stand out performance of the night came from Luvo Manyonga RSA while setting a new stadium record, meeting record and Irish all-comers record in the Long Jump with a jump of 8.20M. Manyonga captured the hearts of the crowd with his personality and amazing athletic ability. The crowd were fully engaged with this event and the loud cheering and clapping for all the participants could be heard for miles but particularly when Manyonga was on the runway. He really got the capacity crowd involved. He promised an all-comers record and he delivered in style. Tim Duckworth GBR and Jesse Thibodeau CAN joined him on the podium with marks of 7.72 and 7.49 respectively.
The crowd was treated to other excellent performances also. The mens 3000m was a tremendous race which eventually came down to three outstanding athletes fighting it out for the win. Patrick Tiernan, Antonio Abadia and Luc Bruchet got clear of the pack after the pacemaker dropped out. Tiernan went for home and tried to get clear of the others but they both hung in behind him in the windy conditions. Then Bruchet fell back leaving the race to the finish between Abadia and Tiernan. Tiernan worked hard to drop Abadia but he hung on and coming off the last bend came from behind and got his nose in front as both fought each other all the way to the line with Abadia getting the win in a hugely impressive time of 7.48.26 considering the swirling winds in the Stadium. All three athletes got times under 7.50.
The womens and mens 800m races were both excellent competitions. In the womens race Olivia Baker USA proved too strong for Cynthia Anais FRA and Adelle Treacy GBR with all three athletes clocking 2.01 times which was very fast considering the windy conditions. Nadia Power IRL ran a great race and was rewarded with a new PB of 2.03.19.
In the mens race the field did not go with the pacemaker and it came down to a sprint with 250m to go with Isaiah Harris USA getting the jump on the field while being chased by Jake Wightman around the bend and up the finishing straight. Harris stayed strong to the finish line and Wightman could not close the gap. Wightman was caught on the line by Spencer Thomas GBR who sneaked by on the inside at the line to take second place. Mark English IRL, European Indoor Bronze Medalist pulled up with 200m to go and seems to have an uncertain road to Doha now for the World Championships.
The womens sprints were dominated by Candace Hill USA winning both the 100m and 200m in 11.37 and 23.07 respectively. She is a rare talent at only 20 years of age and an athlete to watch out for in the next few years. Bandon AC’s Phil Healy, still on the comeback trail after a bad injury injury, ran well in very strong competition to take fourth place in both the 100M and 200m in times of 11.49 and 23.40 respectively.
The mens 100m was won by Demek Kemp USA by one hundredth of a second from Jeff Demps USA in 10.19 secs. The 200m was taken by Sean McClean USA in 20.58. He is a previous winner of both the 100m and 200m back in 2017. Leon Reid IRL took third place in 20.89 and Marcus Lawler sixth in 21.04.
The womens high jump was won by Priscilla Frederick ANT in 1.88m on a difficult night for high jumpers due to the windy conditions. Pippa Rogan and Sommer Lecky of Ireland both jumped 1.80 to take 4th and 5th places. The mens high jump was won by Chris Moleya RSA from Will Grimsey in second place both jumping 2.15m.
Chuk Enekwechi USA completed three victories in a row at the BAM Cork City Sports, which is a rare occurrence, to win the shot putt with a throw of 21.19. Denzel Comenentia NED was second with a throw of 19.81.
The mile had some great talent in the race with the potential to produce some great times. However the cold and windy weather conditions and the fact that the field did not commit to follow the pacemaker closely, excluded fast times and turned the race into a battle over the last 150m. The eventual winner Robert Domanic USA came from way back the field to clinch victory on the line from Justyn Knight CAN and Sam Prakel USA and Ryan Gregson, the pre race favourite, back in fourth place.
Overall the meeting was an huge success and with the assistance of all the sponsors, especially BAM Construction who this year became the title sponsor, gave the Cork public a night to remember. But it was Luvo Manyonga who gave the best moments to the crowd. Talks are already under way to bring him back for the 2020 meeting because “theres no show like a Luvo show” it seems, in international athletics in Cork at the moment.
Watch the sports again here