The crowd at the Athlone IT International Grand Prix witnessed history as Phil Healy set a new Irish 200m indoor record. Shortly after, Ciara Mageean continued her blistering start to the season with a 3000m indoor personal best, which pushed her up to third in the all-time Irish list.
Last year, Phil Healy began her season in Athlone with victory, running 23.28 seconds in the 200m – moving her third on the all-time list. This time around, Healy smashed the 17-year old record set by Ciara Sheehy in 2003, with a powerful performance of 23.10 seconds.
Sheehy’s record was broken by 0.7 of a second and gives Healy a European leading time for the season. Germany’s Jessica-Bianca Wessolly finished second, 0.61 of a second behind the Cork woman while Nikola Bendova of the Czech Republic came in third.
This is third all-time Irish list which Healy heads, currently holding the 100m and 200m outdoor record and now the 200m indoor record.
“Yeah buzzing, absolutely, to run that in such a great atmosphere, in such a great meeting,” said Healy after the race
“To get 23.10, a national record and a win, is absolutely super. I love racing 200m indoors, had a few things to correct from my last few races, but with that crowd to bring me home, it’s absolutely unreal.”
Tá an churiarracht náisiúnta sáraithe @philhealy2 sa 200m!!!!— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) February 13, 2020
After smashing the Irish 200m record, Phil Healy shows her class by signing autographs for the kids who were cheering her on all the way. A pure legend!!!@SportTG4 #AITGrandPrix @DervalORourke pic.twitter.com/br1nrBfTDp
Not long after that came another quality run and more Irish success.
Ciara Mageean held off the challenge of Great Britain’s Rosie Clarke as she set a new indoor personal best on her way to victory in the 3000m final, with a superb run in 8:48.27. Mageean’s newest personal best propels her up one place in the all-time Irish list to third and is the fastest by an Irish woman for more than a decade.
The Portaferry runner has enjoyed a fantastic start to her season having returned from Boston where she broke her own Irish indoor 1500m record. She currently also holds the Irish indoor mile record with 4:28.31 and was set to complete a treble of middle-distance records.
Unfortunately, she fell short of the 8:43.74 mark set by Mary Cullen in 2009 but will be immensely proud of improving her 3000m indoor best by just under 7 seconds.
“Yeah, absolutely delighted,” said Mageean in the post-race interview.
“I came here with the aim of running fast, trying to get a PB, and I achieved that, a stadium record too, and close to that Irish record which I wanted. But that’s held by a fantastic athlete in Mary Cullen, and it’s not something that’s going to come easy. So Mary holds onto it for a little bit longer, and hopefully I’ll get it in the future.”
“But very happy with that performance, that’s two PB’s so far this season, a great start to 2020. All you can do is take those incremental steps towards being your best, and thanks to the crowd too, I knew Rosie was fit today, and sitting on me, so believe me the cheer of the Irish crowd carried me home there that last 200m.”
The women’s 60m final saw six Irish women compete. Molly Scott was off to a brilliant start however it was Great Britain’s Asha Philip who took home gold with a time of 7.23 seconds. Ciara Neville was next to cross the line in a time of 7.33 seconds with Joan Healy hot on her heels with a time of 7.34 seconds. Both athletes were 0.3 of a second off their personal best. In the heats Rhasidat Adeleke ran a new personal best with a time of 7.35 seconds.
Despite the result, the promise of six of Ireland’s sprinters making the final is something to saviour as they look to shine on the world stage. The finalists included Gina Akpe Moses, Lauren Roy, Sarah Quinn, Molly Scott, Ciara Neville, Joan Healy, Rhasidat Adeleke and Niamh Whelan.