ATHLETICS: Adeleke rues missed chance but ‘very happy’

by Aaron Dunne
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TALLAGHT AC’s Rhasidat Adeleke has secured her first senior individual medal with a superb silver-medal-winning run at the European Championships in Rome on Tuesday evening (June 10).

The Tallaght AC athlete crossed the finish in a new national record time of 49.07 behind Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek who took the gold in 48.98.

Adeleke ran a superb race, rounding the final bend right in contention for gold alongside Kaczmarek before the leading duo settled down for a head-to-head dual over the final 100 meters.

Ultimately, Kaczmarek would nudge ahead in the final strides with Lieke Klaver of the Netherlands rounding off the podium places (50.08) in third. Adeleke’s relay teammate Sharlene Mawdsley finished eighth (51.59) in her first championship final as an individual.

It completed a remarkable 400m competition for the Irish at these championships, with all three athletes securing top-ten placings, Adeleke (2), Mawdsley (8), and Becker (10).

“I would have loved the gold, but I could have not made the final, there’s so many things that could have gone wrong,” she said. “I’ll take my blessing and hopefully one day I’ll be able to get my gold.”

Kaczmarek blazed through the opening 200m in 23.59, putting pressure on Adeleke in the lane inside, who at that point was one metre behind, splitting 23.69. “I wanted to make sure I always kept myself in contention, get to 200m, then make my move,” said Adeleke.

“I really wanted to win, but my coach said before, ‘whatever we can do here, we’ll do.’ And to come here and run a personal best, 49.07, I think he’ll be happy. That was a fast race. I’m really, really happy.”

Ahead of the championships Adeleke had asked her coach, Edrick Floreal, if she would taper her training but was met with a swift no, his eyes trained eight weeks up the road to the Paris Olympics. “

He said you can run low-49, high-48 without tapering so he knows what he’s saying,” she said. “All credit to him.”

Adeleke’s time was the fourth fastest in the world this year, and she knows she’s far from the finished product. “We’ve trained through this,” she said. “We’ll train again for the next few weeks and hopefully by Paris, we’ll be where we need to be. I didn’t get the gold, but hopefully I’ll get my chance again.”

Rhasidat Adeleke (right) and Natalia Kaczmarek of Poland dip for the line in their Women’s 400m final and (inset) Adeleke with her silver medal.

Pic: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

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