British-born sprinter Leon Reid given clearance to represent Ireland at European Championships
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British-born sprinter Leon Reid given clearance to represent Ireland at European Championships

British-born sprinter Leon Reid - considered to be a rising star in athletics - has been cleared to compete for Ireland at the upcoming European Championships.

Reid, who is a national sprint champion in the UK, has been trying tirelessly for years to get the go-ahead to represent Ireland.

Although born and raised in Bath, he holds an Irish passport as his mother was from Belfast.

Reid got to the point of asking to race under a neutral flag at last year’s World Championships after his open letter to IAAF president Seb Cople requesting to race for Ireland was rejected.

He represented Team GB at junior and underage level, but refused several offers from Great Britain in recent years in order to keep his Ireland hopes alive.

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Reports earlier this week suggested that Reid’s transfer would not be sanctioned as it did not meet new criteria put in place by athletics bosses who have been clamping down on international switches.

However, today Athletics Ireland confirmed that his transfer had been approved by the IAAF.

The 24-year-old has won both sprint titles at the National Track and Field Championships in Santry last weekend.

He finished at 10.42 in the 100m final and 20.74 in the 200m final.

Speaking to The Irish Post last year, Reid said: “My biological mum was born in Belfast and my foster mum was raised in Enniscorthy in Wexford.

“I have a big family there including my grandparents and it’s just a big connection.

“If you’re running well then British Athletics are your best friends. If you’re not then they don’t want to hear from you.

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“I’ve always wanted to be part of a set-up where they support you no matter what, and the Irish mentality is totally different in that respect.

“I know Irish Athletics will get me to meets and support me.”