Healy’s Hungary heroics

by Gazette Reporter

SARAH Healy was the standout performer during a successful 2017 European Youth Olympics for several Dubliners – as 40 athletes from across the country returned home to a fine reception.
The runner from Monkstown won Ireland’s first gold medal at the tournament in Hungary when she crossed the line in a personal best time of 4.19.85 to take victory in the 1500m.
Even more impressive was the fact second placed Kazimierska Klaudia from Poland finished three and a half seconds behind the 16-year-old – with Austria’s Anna Baumgartner just behind in third.
Healy, a student at Holy Child secondary school in Killiney, kept close to the leading back from the beginning before hitting the front shortly before the bell for the final lap. She then powered away from her rivals on the back straight and left them with no hope of catching her as she crossed the line a full 30m ahead of anyone else.
Rhasidat Adekele from Terenure left Hungary with a medal of her own after she finished second in the women’s 200m final to take silver. The Tallaght AC runner is still only 14-years-old but she didn’t let that stop her cross the line in a personal best time of 23.81 seconds.
Adekele was also part of the Irish 4x100m relay team who finished behind Belgium and the Netherlands to take bronze with a time of 46.38 seconds. She was joined on the team by Blackrock AC athlete Patience Jumbo-Gula and Munster ladies Niamh Foley and Miriam Daly.
Earlier in the week, Lara Gillespie won silver in the 10km TT cycling time trial after clocking a time of 15.20 to give Ireland its first ever cycling medal at the European Youth Olympics. The 16-year-old – a member of the Scott-Orwell club – put in an impressive performance to finish just three seconds behind Swiss cyclist Ronja Blochlinger and three seconds ahead of Brit Elynor Backstedt.
Gillespie was one of 70 riders to take part in the event that was made all the harder by the presence of a strong crosswind.
“It was easy at the start, but when I turned the corner the wind hit so I pushed on,” Gillespie said after the race.
“In the last few kilometres I wobbled from side to side but I knew I was going well because I passed the Hungarian. But I didn’t know I was going that well.”
Donore Harriers star Louis Loughlin finished seventh in the 800m final after crossing the line in a very respectable time of 1.56.98.
In total, Ireland can consider the tournament a success having returned home to a great reception at Dublin Airport with six medals in the bag.

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