Adeleke takes gold for Ireland in European 200 metres

Sophie O’Sullivan also medals on brilliant evening for Irish athletics

Another gold rush in Gyor and this time with a silver lining - Sophie O’Sullivan following Rhasidat Adeleke’s victory in the 200 metres with a brilliant silver medal run over 800m.

That's three medals Ireland have so far won at the European Under-18 Championships in Hungary, both Adeleke and O'Sullivan running lifetime bests and clearly the performances of their careers to date, adding to the classy gold medal won by Sarah Healy over 3,000m on Friday night.

Silver sat perfectly well with O’Sullivan - the same colour of course that her mother Sonia won over 5,000m at the Sydney Olympics - as she ran the near-perfect tactical race, even if ultimately conceding victory to the highly impressive Keely Hodgkinson from Great Britain, the pre-race favourite who lived up to her billing with a championship best performance of 2:04.88.

O’Sullivan, still only 16, clocked 2:06.05 in second - nicely beating her previous best of 2:07.95, with Gaël De Coninck from Sweden hot on her heels in third, in 2:06.14. Slightly boxed in after the first lap, O’Sullivan swept around the front of the race down the backstretch, before Hodgkinson bolted for home around the final bend.


“Feels pretty good,” said O’Sullivan, her mother trackside in Gyor and one of the first to congratulate her. “I was really happy just to get through the rounds and into the final, and really happy it turned out well. I was probably a bit too eager going down the backstretch, but managed to keep it going for the last 200m, but just couldn’t catch Keely, who was just too good.”

Adeleke from Tallaght AC, still only 15 and one of the youngest in her event, had improved her 200m best to 23.77 to make the final earlier in the day, then bettered than again with her superb 23.52 seconds in the final, the fastest under-18 time in Europe this year - and enough to hold off Britain’s Gemima Josephy, who ran 23.60 in second

“I’m lost for words, I really wasn’t expecting that,” said Adeleke, who had several members of her family in Gyor to congratulate her. “You work all year, there will be doubts and things that will bring you down but coming out with the gold is crazy.”

Healy, meanwhile, now leads the European under-18 lists in the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m, and goes in Sunday’s 1,500m final with her time of 4:09.25 some 10 seconds faster than the next best entrant.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics