Tallaght AC’s Rhasidat Adeleke stormed to gold in the 200m at the European Athletics Under-18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary as part of a glorious weekend of action for the Irish team.
Adeleke blitzed the bend and gave her rivals a clean pair of heels as she won the gold in 23.52 – a new personal best that sparked a tearful and jubilant celebration.
She had earlier won her semi-final in a personal best of 23.77 before beating that mark by a quarter of a second.
Speaking after the final Adeleke said: “I’m lost for words. I wasn’t expecting it. I knew I was in form and that I could go fast but not that fast! I can’t believe it.
“You work all year; there are doubts, there are things that bring you down and so coming out with the gold is just crazy!”
She said that keeping her cool and focusing on her technique was the crucial part of her success.
“It’s just surreal. I tried so hard to keep my form because I know when I am under pressure, I can lose that and slow down but I think I got it right in the race.
“You have to get a good bend and then drive on into the straight. I still haven’t taken it all in.”
Elsewhere, Clondalkin’s Louis O’Loughlin (Donore Harriers) finished sixth in his semi-final of the 800m in 1.55.22 and will now look to finish his season on a high at an international schools event.
Reflecting on his performance, he said: “I gave it a lash in the belly but it just wasn’t enough on the day. I am happy though because it’s a big experience and that’s what it’s all about.
“When people are faster than you out there, you just have to learn how to deal with it. More training now. I still have the SIABS in Scotland in a couple of weeks so hopefully I can take home the gold for Ireland.”
In Gyor, Sarah Healy added to the medal haul with gold medals in both the 1,500 and 3,000m, racing away from the field on both occasions to record championship records.
She said there were few nerves due to the team spirit abounding in the Irish setup with plenty of other medals.
“Rhasidat [Adeleke] and Sophie [O’Sullivan] kind of spurred me on and got me excited. Today was tough and it was a long time waiting for the race. I just tried to relax at the hotel and chat with everyone there, watching some Love Island to take my mind off things. It was pretty relaxed.”