There will no shortage of talent on display in the sprint events at this weekend’s Irish Life Health National Senior Track and Field Championships. The 150th edition of the championships takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Morton Stadium in Santry.
Irish athletics fans will be excited to see teenage sensation Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght AC) return to race on Irish soil for the first time this year. Adeleke has had an extraordinary season running Irish records over 60m, 200m, 300m, and 400m and will feel that Phil Healy’s Irish record of 11.28s is within her grasp. Adeleke’s best currently stands at 11.31s but if conditions are right in Santry on Sunday evening Adeleke could produce something very special.
Adeyemi Talabi (Longford AC) is second on the Irish performance list this season having ran 11.44s also in America, while Molly Scott (St. Laurence O’Toole’s AC) who had a sensational indoor season has ran 11.50s.
The likes of Joan Healy (Leevale AC), who is now coached by Derval O’Rourke, Sarah Leahy (Killarney Valley AC) and Lucy-May Sleeman (Leevale AC) may also feature in the medals.
The final takes place at 7pm on Sunday with athletes facing heats and semi-finals earlier in the day.
Israel Olatunde (UCD AC) will be the main man to watch in the Men’s 100m. Only Jason Smyth and Paul Hession have ever gone quicker than Olatunde, who ran a PB of 10.27s in Austria recently, setting a new Irish U23 record in the process.
Robert McDonnell (Galway City Harriers), Joseph Ojewumi (Tallaght AC), Oliver Swinney (Speed Development Project), and Colin Doyle (Leevale AC) have all ran under 10.50s this season also.
Ireland’s fastest men will enter their blocks for the final at 7.15pm on Sunday.
The Women’s 200m seems to be quite open. Roisin Harrison (Emerald AC) has the fastest time of the entrants this season having ran 23.83s. Harrison may however opt to focus solely on the 400m however her intentions are unknown. Another athlete in a similar position is Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC).
Lucy-May Sleeman (Leevale AC), Lauren Cadden (Sligo AC), and Sarah Leahy (Killarney Valley AC) will all be in contention.
The final is due to get underway at 5pm on Saturday.
Robert McDonnell (Galway City Harriers) leads the men’s entrants with a best of 20.51s this season. That time is now the Irish U23 record and moved the Galway man to fourth on the Irish All-Time list.
Marcus Lawler (Clonliffe Harriers) and former National champion Mark Smyth (Raheny Shamrocks) will be expected to feature prominently.
The final is scheduled for 5.10pm on Saturday.
The Women’s 400m looks like it could be one of the most hotly contested races of the championships. Phil Healy (Bandon AC) and Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrocks AC) are separated by 0.01s on Seasons Best’s this year. Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC) and Roisin Harrison (Emerald AC) were part of a strong 4x400m relay team in Oslo last week.
It is expected that those four women will make up the medals, with one to miss out.
7.45pm on Sunday is the expected start time for the final.
Chris O’Donnell (North Sligo AC) will be overwhelming favourite going into the Men’s race. O’Donnell clocked a new PB of 45.26s last weekend in Madrid to move to joint second on the Irish All-Time list alongside Brian Gregan and behind only David Gillick.
Jack Raftery (Donore Harriers) and Luke Lennon Forde (Clonliffe Harriers) have also both ran under 47s this season and should challenge for the podium. Other contenders include Marcus Lawler (Clonliffe Harriers), Eanna Madden (Carrick-on-Shannon AC) and Cathal Crosbie (Ennis Track AC).
The final is scheduled for 8pm on Sunday.