Akpe-Moses strikes gold at European U-20s

Irish sprinter secures rare sprinting gold medal in Italy

A rare sprint championship gold medal for Ireland yet convincing once it came, Gina Akpe-Moses winning the 100 metres at the European Athletics Under-20 Championship in Grosseto, Italy this afternoon.

The 18-year-old Akpe-Moses, who runs with the Blackrock club in Co Louth, had the legs and nerve to hold off the German Keshia Kwadwo, her time of 11.71 seconds, just 0.15 outside her lifetime best run earlier this year.

It had been 38 years since Ireland had two sprinters in a championship final at this level, with Akpe-Moses' team mate Ciara Neville also finishing an excellent seventh in 11.98.

“I hoped to get a medal, and eventually the dream came true,” she Akpe-Moses. “In the semi-finals I started thinking I could jump on the podium, but only in the last 20m of the final I had the thought ‘I can get the gold medal’.”


Not since 1979 has there been two Irish finalists in a sprint final at this level when Patricia Amond and Michelle Walsh competed in Poland. On Thursday, she finished a superb second in her semi-final to qualify automatically for the final equalling her personal best of 11.56 into a headwind.

Elizabeth Morland also finished an excellent fifth with a national record 5,801 points in the heptathlon with Kate O'Connor eighth and Youth record 5,759 points.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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