Israel Olatunde runs new Irish under-23 60m record

His 6.67 also puts him well within reach of qualifying for World Indoor Championships

Opening indoor races of the season are more typically about blowing away the cobwebs, only Israel Olatunde blew straight of the blocks, running a new Irish under-23 60 metres record of 6.67 seconds during Sunday's National Indoor League round one, staged at the Sport Ireland Indoor Arena in Abbotstown.

Still only 19, Olatunde improved on the 6.73 he clocked at the Elite Micro Meet in Abbotstown last year. Paul Hession, with his Irish senior record of 6.61 set back in 2007, is the only Irish athlete to have run faster, and as untouchable as that has proved over the years, it may now be living on borrowed time.

Already the reigning Irish senior 100m champion - claiming that title in Santry last June in a personal best of 10.49 seconds when still only 18 - his 6.67 also puts him well within reach of the qualifying time for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade next March, that target being 6.63.

Originally coming up through Tallaght AC, Olatunde is now running with UCD, an Ad Astra Elite scholar, studying computer science. By his own admission Olatunde was disappointed not to make the 100m final at the European Under-20 Championships last summer, only already it seems 2022 is promising bigger things.

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Also fast of out of the blocks at the National Indoor League was Phil Healy, effective racing alone, yet winning the 400m in 51.96 seconds. It's her second fastest indoor time ever after the 51.94 from last season, which already qualifies her for Belgrade.

New training partner Marcus Lawler, moving up from the short sprints, also clocked a 400m best of 48.48 seconds. While over in Sheffield, John Travers clocked 7:53.82, indication too of a promising season ahead.