John Kelly set a new Ulster shot put record in Norway. Photo: Sportsfile
John Kelly set a new Ulster shot put record in Norway on Wednesday evening - in a performance described as one of the best EVER by a Donegal athlete.
The Finn Valley AC man threw out to 19.57 metres at the Trond Mohn Games in Norway.
Kelly’s effort secured the bronze in the event, a World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze level meet.
The St Johnston man put almost a metre onto his own previous Ulster, Donegal and Finn Valley records.
The significance of Kelly’s performance at the Fana Stadium in Bergen has been noted.
“It’s one of the better performances in the history of Donegal athletics,” Finn Valley AC Chairman and former Irish athletics team manager Patsy McGonagle said.
“John has consistently chased excellence in performance and has based himself in Sweden.
“This is a boy who is now up there throwing with the very best. He began his athletics career through the primary schools athletics when he was at St Baithin’s in St Johnston and has grown into an athlete of real standing.”
Kelly took bronze in Norway with his record-breaking throw. Marcus Thomsen from Norway won gold with a season's best of 20.85m with a 20.06 throw earning Tsanko Arnaudov of Portugal the silver.
Kelly’s latest throw eclipses the 18.83m he recorded at the European Athletics Throwing Cup in Leiria, Portugal in March.
His new mark goes in at fourth on the all-time best by Irish athletes in the shot put.
Eric Favors set a new Irish record of 20.07m in Ponce, Puerto Rico last month.
That eclipsed a 30-year-old mark of 20.04 set by Paul Quirke in 1992. Victor Costello, later an Irish rugby player, recorded a 19.93m throw in 1992.
Kelly returned to action in February after almost 18 months out with a foot injury.
He is based in Sweden, where he is coached by Vésteinn Hafsteinsson and competes with an elite group in Växjö that also includes Swedish discus thrower Daniel Ståhl, a 2019 World Championship gold medalist in Doha.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.