Kelly claims silver medal and Donegal record

Kelly claims silver medal and Donegal record
Finn Valley Athletic Club’s shot putter John Kelly was among the medals once again at the National Indoor Athletic Championships, in Athlone.

Finn Valley Athletic Club’s shot putter John Kelly was among the medals once again at the National Indoor Athletic Championships, in Athlone.

The St Johnston teenager, who turns 19 next month, was a silver medal winner at the Championship with a throw of 15.97 metres in the 7.26 kg category. The throw also set a new Donegal record and was also an improvement on his bronze medal place finish at last summer’s National Outdoor Championships.

Sean Breathnach, from Connemera won the category with a throw of 17.42 metres.

“I didn’t throw all that well at the weekend but I am happy with the silver medal. It is an improvement on my bronze medal at the Outdoors last summer, so I’m making progress,” John told the Democrat.

“The shot putt is an event for more mature men and I’m still very much in the early stages of my development. I’m only 18, I’ll be 19 in three weeks and it will be another seven or eight years before I’m anywhere near my full development.

“So when you take that into consideration I have to be happy with the way things are going for me and happy with a silver medal at the National Senior Indoors.

“Hopefully, by the time I reach to 26/27 I will be up to Olympic and World Championship qualification standards.”

The first year Letterkenny IT student’s more immediate goal is qualification for this summer’s European Junior u-20 Championships.

“I’m making good progress and I’m pretty close to the qualification mark and all I need is a throw of a further 20 to 30 centimetres. I am confident of achieving that pretty soon,” insisted John, who is coached by his father whose name is also John.

“I have a very good team around me. I have a strength and conditioning coach and nutritionist and physiotherapist. They are all based in Belfast and my father is my coach and he keeps a good eye on me.”

John will begin that chase this weekend at the British Universities Athletics Championship in Sheffield.