Rhasidat Adeleke smashes Irish junior 200m record again

18-year-old has broken record twice in two weekends after it had stood for 21 years

Rhasidat Adeleke has broken the Irish junior 200m record twice in two weekends. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Rhasidat Adeleke has broken the Irish junior 200m record twice in two weekends. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

It had lasted 21 years, only this time lasted exactly one week, Rhasidat Adeleke once again breaking the Irish junior (Under-20) 200 metres record which had been seemingly untouchable from before she was even born.

Competing again for the University of Texas, and continuing her rapid improvement is what is her freshman season, Adeleke clocked 23.25 seconds, with that improving the 23.27 she’d run just a week ago: competing at the dual meet against rivals Texas A&M, the Dublin-born sprinter took third place, her 23.25 now the fifth fastest ever run by any Irish athlete at the distance.

Before last weekend, the Irish junior record of 23.34 had stood to Emily Maher since the year 2000: by then Maher had already made a name for herself, the Kilkenny athlete winning a sprint double at the inaugural World Youth Games in Moscow in 1998, aged only 17, and later in 2000 was also part of the Irish women’s 4x400m relay at the Sydney Olympics.

For Adeleke, still only 18, is also edges her closer to the 23-second barrier, Phil Healy the only Irish woman to have cracked that with her 22.99: in the long and illustrious history of Irish athletes taking up a US scholarship, stretching back 73 years to 1948, few athletes have also made such an immediate impression as a freshman, especially in a sprint event.

Before last weekend, her previous 200m best of 23.52 was set in 2019, the same year she won a rare sprint double at the European Youth Olympics in Baku. Adeleke was poised to go faster last year before Covid-19 brought about a series of cancellations, from her written Leaving Cert exams at Presentation Terenure to the World Under-20 Athletics Championships, set for Nairobi, Kenya, and now rescheduled for this August, one week after the Tokyo Olympics.

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