The History of the Ballymena & Antrim Athletics Club
The history of the Ballymena & Antrim Athletics Club is really the story of two remarkable people … the husband and wife combination of Sean and Maeve Kyle. Sean the coach, Maeve the athlete, and together they formed a formidable team. Maeve was the queen of the track in the 1950’s and competed in the 100 & 200 metres at the Melbourne Olympic Games in 1956. For 14 years Maeve competed at every International Level, including three Olympics, two Commonwealth Games, two European Championships and the European Indoor Championships, and held more than 50 athletics titles. And Sean was the driving force in her training routines and track success.
The Club was founded in 1955 by Sean and Maeve as Ballymena Ladies Athletics Club based at Eton Park (the current home of Ballymena Rugby Club). It became Ballymena Athletics Club a year later when men were also allowed to join. Mary Peters was one of the six founding members and she benefited from the early coaching at the Club to become an Olympic Gold Medalist. The Club moved on to become Ballymena and Antrim Athletics Club when it moved to the Antrim Forum in 1976. The Club has produced many champions throughout its distinguished existence and now has an abundance of highly qualified coaches to guide a new generation of young athletes.
In 2016, the Club had over 400 members including Fundamentals (Primary School aged children) Junior, Senior and Master athletes. The Club is arguably the most successful in Northern Ireland, having won the Youth Development League for the last two years and developing many champion athletes competing at Schools, Ulster, Irish, International and Commonwealth Games levels.