Nadia Power named Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman for January

Irish runner has enjoyed very promising start to what will hopefully be a huge year

Nadia Power has started the season in brilliant form on the track. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

While 2020 might have been a bit of a write-off for many of our athletes, for Nadia Power it was another year of progress, the Dubliner building on the promise she showed in 2019 when she won her first major international medal.

That was a bronze at the European Under-23 Championships in the 800m, 2019 also seeing her set six personal bests in both the 800m and 1500m. By then, her decision to give up camogie and focus on athletics seemed like a shrewd one, her potential evident.

Come March of last year she collected her first ever senior national title when she won the 800m at Abbotstown. From there on, she'd have been forgiven for losing her momentum, but when just about everything was coming to a halt, Power pressed on with her training, even if a little improvisation was needed at times – not least with her Covid-enforced gym sessions in her Templeogue back garden.

In the space of a week last September she showed, in some style, that she'd lost none of her momentum at all, the DCU marketing student, who turned 23 last month, running the three fastest 800m races of her life, the highlight coming at a meeting in Italy where she set a new Irish under-23 record with a time of 2:01.01.


By then, Power was viewing the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics as a "blessing". If she'd qualified for the Games in 2020 she would, she said, have simply regarded it as "a bonus", but with another year's work under her belt, she feels more ready to take on the challenge of qualifying and, if that comes to pass, mixing it with the big guns in her event.

She's added considerable weight to that belief since the start of 2021, her best performance so far coming at an indoor meeting in Vienna last month when she knocked over three seconds off her personal best to set a new Irish senior 800m record, beating Siofra Cleirigh Buttner's 2018 mark by running 2:02.44.

Power finished second in the race behind British rising star Keely Hodgkinson whose time of 1:59.03 was a new world under-20 record – and the fourth fastest ever run by a Briton.

She was in good company again at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meet in Lievin, France on Tuesday night where she came second in the 800m behind Poland's Joanna Jozwik – who finished fifth in the 800m final at the last Olympics, two seconds adrift of Caster Semenya.

The previous Saturday, Power, who is coached by Enda Fitzpatrick, ran her second fastest 800m in Metz, so she's hitting a level of consistency that augurs well for the challenges ahead – starting with next month's European Indoor Championships in Poland.

For such a promising start to her 2021, then, Power gave our judging panel the easiest of decisions, she is our Sportswoman of the Month for January, with, hopefully, many more successful 2021 months to come.

Previous monthly winners

(The awards run from December 2020 to November 2021, inclusive) -

December: Aoife Doyle (Camogie) and Sinéad Goldrick (Gaelic football). The pair were both chosen as the player of the match in their respective All-Ireland finals, Doyle’s display in the Kilkenny attack helping her county end a run of three defeats in the final in a row, while Goldrick’s tireless performance against Cork was a major factor in Dublin completing a four-in-a-row.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times