It’s been a European U18 Championships to remember for Team Ireland. Three gold medals, a silver medal and invaluable experience for all the athletes involved, capping off a sensational weekend of European racing. Sarah Healy, Rhasidat Adeleke and Sophie O’Sullivan won four medals for Ireland, making Ireland the highest on the women’s medal table.
On Sunday 8th July, Sarah Healy once again stunned the crowd at The Olympic Sport Park as she demolished the field and broke the Championship Record running a time of 4:18.71. Sarah, who is the number one ranked U18 athlete in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m, showed why she is one of the most astonishing talents in Ireland. After the race it was noticed by many that Healy was the only girl left standing, with her competitors giving everything trying to chase her, while she made the racing look like a walk in the park. Check out the action below!
ANOTHER GOLD! Sarah Healy just isn't human! Winning the 1500m final in 4:18.71 and another Championship record! Brilliant to see Irish Athletics at such a high level over the past few days in Gyor! Congratulations to all involved! #HerSport #HerAthletics @irishathletics pic.twitter.com/uc2J7F6vHU
— HerSport (@HerSportDotIE) July 8, 2018
The 1500m win sealed Sarah’s second gold medal of the championships. On Friday, competing in the 3000m, of which she made a late decision to enter, Sarah looked incredibly calm and composed to take home victory with another Championship Record in 9:18.05. In her last kilometre of the race, Sarah ran 2 minutes 57 seconds, which is the equivalent of 20km/h on the treadmill!
The recent form Healy has shown is hugely encouraging for Irish athletics, undoubtedly inspiring and pushing more Irish athletes. Just last month she ran the fastest 1500m of any U18 in the last 32 years! The future looks bright for Blackrock Athletic Club’s star.
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) July 8, 2018
The success didn’t stop there for Team Ireland. 15-year old sensation Rhasidat Adeleke appeared to surprise herself as she took home gold in the 200m. Rhasidat held off France’s Gemima Joseph storming to victory in 23.52. Adeleke again bettered her PB of 23.77 which she ran in the semi-final earlier in the day.
The Tallaght Athletic Club superstar only realised she won the final after the camera panned on her. Shedding tears of joy after the race, Rhasidat spoke of her shock and delight. It’s an exciting time for Ireland in sprinting as the talent coming through looks immense. With Rhasidat, Patience Jumbo-Gula, Ciara Neville and Gina-Akpe Moses, we are sure to have much more success in the coming years.
A brilliant run from Rhasidat Adeleke in the 200m final at the European U18 Championships to claim Ireland's second gold medal of the event! ?? pic.twitter.com/wDZed643Dk
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) July 7, 2018
Finally, in the 800m, Sophie O’Sullivan, making her first appearance in the green vest, brought home silver in a well fought race. Sophie tactically held on to the leading group in the first lap, moving with the leaders as they began to pull away.
She made her move on the back straight, pushing hard around the bend. It was a dog fight in the final straight, with two competitors hot on her heels but Sophie managed to hold on, pushing herself to cross the line in second position. Sophie ran a new PB of 2:06.05 and won a silver medal on her debut for Ireland.
I remember interviewing @soniaagrith in Sydney 12 years ago after 5000m qualifier for Commonwealth Games and these two little girls buzzing around their mother.
Amazing to see pix now of Sonia with medal hero Sophie O'Sullivan. Glory days.
PIX: Inpho & Getty pic.twitter.com/SXXP5thZhE
— David Coughlan (@canalend) July 8, 2018
Sophie O’Sullivan is the daughter of one of Ireland’s most talented and successful athletes ever; Sonia O’Sullivan. Sonia travelled with her daughter to Gyor, with her excitement and pride caught on camera during the final. It was refreshing to hear Sonia speak of how she tries to avoid putting pressure on her daughter, simply wanting her to enjoy the sport.
Think being an athlete is nerve-wracking? Being the parent of an athlete is even more nerve-wracking!
Watch Sonia O'Sullivan live every moment of Sophie's silver medal-winning run in the 800m final at the European U18 Championships last night! pic.twitter.com/v7mwL52NKH
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) July 8, 2018
Without a doubt, this has been a hugely successful Championships for Team Ireland. The Irish team finished 7th overall on the medal table standings.
One thing that really stood out in Gyor was the team spirit and camaraderie amongst the Irish athletes. There was genuine delight and pride for the girls who picked up medals. The medals won at this competition will only breathe more of a winning culture into Irish Athletics.
The focus will now turn to the IAAF World U20 Athletics Championships in Tampere which kicks off tomorrow, running from the 10th – 15th July. Sprinter, Ciara Neville in the lead up to the competition:
"It's definitely made us all a bit more motivated and hopefully we'll perform to our best to replicate what they were doing out there." @ciara_nev100 is taking inspiration from the feats of the Irish U18s ahead of this week's World U20 Championships in Tampere. pic.twitter.com/EU9DE06zPq
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) July 9, 2018
Rhasidat Adeleke and Patience Jumbo-Gula will travel from Gyor to Tampere to link up with the rest of the squad. The pair will compete in the 4x100m event. The full squad is detailed below:
|IAAF World U20 Athletics Championships|
|Ciara Neville||Emerald AC||100m & 200m & 4x100m|
|Gina Akpe-Moses||Blackrock-Louth||100m & 200m & 4x100m|
|Ciara Deely||KCH AC||400m|
|Davicia Patterson||Beechmount Harriers AC||400m|
|Jo Keane||Ennis Track||800m|
|Molly Scott||St. L. O’Toole AC||100mh & 4x100m|
|Sommer Lecky||Finn Valley AC||High Jump|
|Niamh O’Connor||Celbridge AC||10k Walk|
|Orla O’Connor||Waterford AC||10k Walk|
|Lauren Roy||City of Lisburn||4x100m relay|
|Patience Jumbo-Gu||St. Gerard’s AC||4x100m relay|
|Rhasidat Adeleke||Tallaght AC||4x100m relay|