Athletics

Healy Shines in Sunny Belfast With A New Personal Best

It was a triumphant weekend for some of Ireland’s top athletic stars at the Irish Milers meet in Belfast on Saturday.

Phil Healy sparkled by running her fastest 400 metres race, adding more ranking points towards Tokyo Olympic qualification in the process.

Healy came to the track determined to maximise the ranking points, and so she did: winning the 400m in 51.50 seconds, a record over half a second faster than her previous outdoor best, set in 2018.

The Cork athlete also ran 51.91 when finishing fourth at the European Indoor championships in Poland in March and is now closing in on qualification for both the 200m and 400m.

She was destined for success as earlier in the day she won the 200m in a time of 23.21.

This was ahead of Kate Doherty and Aoife Lynch, two of the Irish quartet who had recently finished second in the recent 4x200m at the World Relays.

Phil Healy pictured with her coach Shane McCormack after her win in Belfast.
Sophie Becker was Healy’s main opposition in the one lap race but the Bandon bullet showed her class, leading from the gun to the finish and setting a new personal best. Becker also ran her fastest ever 400m when placing second to Healy, clocking 52.32. This was an improvement of her best previous time of 53.20 and moving her to top five on the Irish all-time list. Although she is high up the world rankings, which almost guarantees her Olympic selection, she will now try and nail the time once more. This race is the Irish Nationals at the end of June, which come just before the Olympic qualifying period ends.

The meeting’s first race was the women’s 3,000m steeplechase won by Michelle Finn, in a time of 9:39.44. This time should consolidate her place in the world rankings where she lies inside the quota for Tokyo.

The Cork athlete, who finished well ahead of fellow Rio Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty, went into the weekend in 30th spot in the Olympic qualifying rankings with 45 set to earn Tokyo spots.

St Abban’s Ruby Millet also hit the headlines on Sunday as she claimed first place in the Long Jump competition at the Belfast Irish Milers Club meet.

She won the long jump with a jump of 6.43 metres but because of the force of the wind being over the legal limit in Belfast, that time wasn’t deemed legal for scoring.

However, her jump of 6.32 metres was legal and stood up to European U23 standard and also set a new stadium record at the Belfast track.

Not to be outdone by her training partner, Saragh Buggy also smashed her PB in the TJ, jumping 13.46m in Round 1 and 13.53m in Round 5 (just 9cm off the Irish Record). 

St. Abban's Ruby Millet and Saragh Buggy at the Irish Milers meet.
Michelle Finn
Michelle Finn in action.
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