Israel Olatunde runs national record to finish sixth at Europeans

Avatar photo

It was a night that will long in the memory of Irish athletics fans and a night that Israel Olatunde will never forget.

People often associate great nights for Irish athletics with medals, but something feels different about this.

Yes, Israel Olatunde didn’t walk away with a European medal in the 100m, but he announced himself on one of the biggest stages to millions watching around the world.

If the casual sports fan in Ireland wasn’t familiar with the name Israel Olatunde, they certainly are now.

For the second day in a row Olatunde lowered his PB and on this occasion he finally went under Paul Hession’s national record that he had been getting ever closer to breaking time and time again this season.

His 10.17s clocking was good enough for sixth in Europe. He was pipped for fifth by thousandths of a second, the fourth placed athlete was only 0.01s ahead of him and the bronze medallist 0.04s clear.

Olatunde also managed to beat Reece Prescod of Great Britain, a former European silver medallist who has ran sub 10s on several occasions and has a 9.93s PB from this year.

This performance will be remembered.

Gold on the night went to Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs. The Olympic champion became the European champion by setting a new championship record of 9.95s.

Zharnell Hughes of Great Britain took silver in 9.95s, with compatriot Jeremiah Azu taking bronze in 10.13s.

In the semi-final Olatunde had ran 10.20s to secure automatic passage to the final after finishing in second place. He rose to the occasion once again in the final.

Israel Olatunde reacts to sensational performance

“When I knew I wasn’t in the top three at the finish, all I wanted was to see what time I got and to get the national record was a dream come true. I’m 20 years old and a few years ago, I never would have believed this moment would come. I’m just going to keep working and building on this,” Olatunde told media after the final.

“Dan Kilgallon and the sprints scene in Tallaght have pushed me on to newer heights and I’m so grateful for them. If I can do it, anyone else can do it.”

In just 48 hours’ time the Dundalk man will return to the Olympic Stadium track in Munich that he has already achieved great success on as he spearheads the Irish men’s 4x100m team who are set to compete in the heats on Friday morning.

Irish Runner logo

The Runner’s Connect