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Laadjel smashes Irish Junior Record

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One of Irish athletics longest standing records was smashed on Friday in the United States.

18-year-old Abdel Laadjel of Donore Harriers ran a scintillating time of 29.23.92 for 10,000m on the track smashing the Irish Junior record Frank Greally had held for over half a century.

Not only was the run a new Irish record but it also broke a significant barrier, Laadjel is the first Irish Junior to ever run sub 30 minutes for the distance, Greally’s record that dated back 52 years to August 1970 had stood at 30.17.

Laadjel is currently a freshman in Providence College in the state of Rhode Island and was competing at the Raleigh Relays Invitational Event in North Carolina.

The young athlete has been making significant strides in recent months, most recently lowering the Irish Junior Indoor 5000m record to 14.12.73, taking nearly a second of the previous best held by Darragh McElhinney of 14.13.67 which was ran in Athlone in 2019.

In December Laadjel led the Irish Junior team to silver at the Spar European Cross Country Championships in Abbotstown, a race in which he ran spectacularly finishing sixth overall. The Irish team finished an agonising one point off the gold which was won by Great Britain.

Commenting on social media after the race Greally congratulated Laadjel.

“Great to see the record broken by a Donore Harriers athlete. Well done, Abdel,” said Greally.

Laadjel took to Twitter after the race describing his performance as “only the beginning.”

“Solid 10k debut and Irish Junior Record. Happy to put the Donore Harriers vest back on for this one. Only the beginning, I promise.”

He also paid tribute to Greally, a fellow Donore Harriers man, who he says “set the standard” for future Juniors to chase down his records.

It has been a remarkable rise for Laadjel who only started running less than five years ago during his time at Kishogue Community College in Lucan. Following a fourth-place finish at the West Dublin Schools Cross Country Championships in 2017 Gerry Naughton approached him asking him to consider joining Donore Harriers.

Speaking in an interview in 2020, Laadjel spoke about his ambitions to “make the Olympics and World Champs.”

He also spoke about his goals to start “racking up major medals for Ireland” and getting “Irish records in my bag.”

He is certainly already on his way to meeting his targets.

Also, in the race in Raleigh, Barry Keane (Waterford AC), ran 28:15.60, Brian Fay (Raheny Shamrocks AC) ran 28:22.21, and Fearghal Curtin (Youghal AC) ran 28:25.43.

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