The Olympics beckons for Rhasidat Adeleke after her performance over the weekend saw her overtake Phil Healy as the fastest Irish woman in history over 200m.
The talented 18 year old continued her rich vein of form in Manhattan at the Big 12 Conference Championships– the University of Texas student clocking 22.96 seconds in her heat of the 200 meters to etch her name into the Irish history books and edge her way closer to claiming a Tokyo Olympic spot via world rankings.
Adeleke, a product of Tallaght AC, saw her latest national record topple that of Phil Healy’s 22.99 which had sat at the summit of Irish female 200m records since July of 2018. Along with the 200m record obtained by the Dubliner, Adeleke is also in hot pursuit of Phil Healy’s national 100m record with her 100m time of 11.31 earlier in the evening of Saturday’s exploits breaking the Irish U20 and U23 records moving her to second in the 100m standings just fractionally behind Healy’s record holding 11.28 which she also set in July of 2018. The Cork woman was quick to congratulate Adeleke, who’s form has left all in the Irish athletics scene excited about the gem we have on our hands.
100%! Massive congrats Rhasidat! Insane run and unreal performances across all distances to date! 🔥🔥 No doubt there plenty more to come 💥 Best of luck in the finals today!— Phil Healy (@philhealy2) May 16, 2021
Adeleke again took to the track later in the evening for the finals, as she claimed a pair of second place finishes. The first of which came with a 11.36 run in the 100m, impressively followed by a 23.03 finish in the 200m. These times, especially in the 200m, mean the scholarship student will boost her chances of claiming a spot in Tokyo via world rankings, as she came just shy of the 22.80 automatic qualifying time for the 200m.The fast improving former Presentation College, Terenure student has a roll of honour already accumulated that would leave one in admiration as to just how good the sprinter is for such a young age. Her most recent exploits coincide nicely with her already noticeable feats of holding a sprint double at the European Youth Olympics in Baku in 2019, along with being part of Ireland’s 4x100m relay team that won silver at the 2018 World Under-20 championships in Finland.
💥NEW IRISH RECORDS FOR RHASIDAT ADELEKE💥@rhasidatadeleke had a night to remember at the Big 12 Champs last night, breaking Phil Healy’s Irish 200m record with a stunning 22.96, as well as the Irish U20 & U23 100m records with an 11.31🤩🙌👏— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) May 16, 2021
Adeleke’s form since moving to the US has drawn plenty of attention–all of which being rightly deserved. Her Sport covered her exploits back in April, when the speedster ran a wind assisted (+2.7) 23.00 in the 200m at the Texas Invitational. The clocked time was not accepted in the record books as a result of the strong winds but her time would have moved her an astonishing second on the all-time Irish list just 0.01s away from Phil Healy’s Irish record. As noted in April’s article, Adeleke’s form shown meant it was only a matter of time before the speedster would topple those before her. And she duly obliged at the weekend in memorable fashion.
Adeleke will hope to carry this exhilarating form into the soon approaching NCAA National Championships, where another impressive competition will propel her further up the world rankings and in turn potentially earn her seat on the plane to Tokyo via the athlete quota.
With the Dubliner set to turn 19 in August, the nation looks on in great hope with no signs of her form or in fact her times, slowing down any time soon.