The Irish team have got off to a superb start on the opening day of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon with the Mixed 4x400m Relay Team qualifying for the final which takes place at 3:50am on Saturday morning.
The quartet of Chris O’Donnell (North Sligo AC), Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrocks AC), Jack Raftery (Donore Harriers AC), and Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght AC) finished second in their heat, qualifying to the final as fifth fastest team in a time of 3.13.88.
O’Donnell led the team out from Lane 4. The Sligo man who is coached by Benke Blomkvist ran a split of 46.33s before handing the baton to Becker.
The Wexford native who is now based in Dublin and part of the Dublin Sprint group where she is coached by Jeremy Lyons and Ger O’Donnell ran a split of 52.38s.
Jack Raftery, also a member of Dublin Sprint, was on the third leg. The DCU student ran a split of 45.38s which was the fastest third leg from any athlete across the heats. The 21-year-old is competing in his first senior global championships but looked comfortable in the environment.
One of stars of Irish athletics Rhasidat Adeleke ran the anchor leg. The Dubliner is also competing in her first senior global championships but holding Irish senior records at 60m, 200m, 300m, and 400m it is clear she belongs at this level. The Texas based athlete, who is still only nineteen=years-old, ran a superb split of 49.80s to bring the team home in style and secure a big Q to the final. Despite having had a long collegiate season Adeleke appears to still be in good form.
The United States qualified to the final with the fastest time of 3.11.75 ahead of the Netherlands. The Dominican Republic, who won silver at last summer’s Olympics and whom many believe are the favourites to claim gold qualified as third fastest. The Dominicans won Ireland’s heat. Olympic champions Poland were fourth fastest qualifiers.
Ireland have been drawn in Lane 5 for the final and will likely need to run under the National Record of 3.12.88 to challenge for a podium position. Regardless of how they do in the final, reaching another global final is what the Irish team travelled to Eugene to do, and they have achieved that.
The World Athletics Championships are broadcast live on BBC TV and streamed live on the World Athletics YouTube