Ireland’s European Youth Olympic champion: Who is Rhasidat Adeleke?

Tallaght 16-year-old strikes gold twice in Baku in short career that has already hit the heights

Rhasidat Adeleke celebrates winning the 200m final in Baku. Photograph:  Inpho/Bryan Keane

Rhasidat Adeleke celebrates winning the 200m final in Baku. Photograph: Inpho/Bryan Keane

 

Rhasidat Adeleke has this week won double gold in the 100m and 200m at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The 16-year-old is from Tallaght in Dublin and these were the fifth and sixth championship medals of her short athletics career.

She was commanding in both races in Baku. In the 100m on Tuesday, Adeleke was clear winner in a time of 11.70 seconds. Adeleke took immediate control in the 200m final on Thursday night, leading from gun to tape to take the win in 23.92 seconds, raising her right arm in triumph as she crossed the line.

Still a summer out from her Leaving Cert year at Presentation Community College in Terenure, the Tallaght AC athlete is not 17 until September. Adeleke also won over 200m at the European under-18 championships last July in Gyor, Hungary and was also part of the Ireland 4x100m relay team at the World under-20 Championships.

Adeleke first came to major prominence when, as a 14-year-old in 2017, she won a junior sprint double at the Irish Schools championships. That summer – still just 14, very young even by Youth Olympics standards – she won the silver medal over 200m, also in Hungary.

An accomplished basketballer, she has also won MVP awards playing the sport for her school. Adeleke was the Tallaght Echo’s sports star of 2018 following her gold medal win in Hungary.

Rhasidat Adeleke receiving an athlete of the meeting award at a schools event in 2016.
Rhasidat Adeleke receiving an athlete of the meeting award at a schools event in 2016.

In December 2018, Adeleke became a member of the Accelerator Academy, set up by former Irish international athletic stars Sonia O’Sullivan and David Matthews, to support Ireland’s rising stars. The academy aims to support athletes by providing internship/work placement in the private sector. It also provides financial support to help cover some out-of-pocket expenses while competing and offer a personalised training programme in public speaking and related areas.

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