Rhasidat Adeleke will likely prove pivotal to Ireland’s chances of making the final of the mixed 4x400 metres on Friday’s opening day of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Still only 19, Adeleke has been named as part of the Irish quartet that also includes Sophie Becker, Jack Raftery and Chris O’Donnell. Ireland go in the second of two heats (7.56pm Irish time), with the final set for the evening session (3.50am Irish time).
Becker and O’Donnell were part of the Irish quartet that made the Olympic final in Tokyo last summer, producing the Irish record of 3:12.88 – which ranks them third fastest in their heat behind the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. The top three, plus the two fastest losers, will progress.
Becker (51.83) and O’Donnell (45.26) have both improved their 400m bests this season, Adeleke going better again with her Irish record of 50.70 set in the US back in May, and a repeat of that sort of time would certainly give the quartet a strong chance of progressing. Teams must now run a man first, then woman, man, woman. Adeleke will run the anchor leg.
Also out on day one is Toyko Olympian David Kenny in the 20km walk (11.10pm Irish time), the Killarney athlete certainly capable of mixing it with the leaders after posting a lifetime best of 1:19.44 back in April, the second fastest time posted by an Irish athlete, behind his coach Robert Heffernan (1:19:22).
Recent Irish under-23 record breaker Sarah Healy goes in the heats of the women’s 1,500m (2.10am), ranked sixth fastest with her 4:02.86 (the top six automatically progress), before Eric Favors and John Kelly take on the qualifying rounds of the men’s shot put (2.55am).
Irish in action Friday/Saturday (Irish time)
7.56pm: Mixed 4x400m Heats (Final 3.50am)
11.10pm: David Kenny 20km Walk
2.10am: Sarah Healy 1,500m Heats
2.55am: Eric Favors and John Kelly Shot Put Qualifying