Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrocks AC) delighted the home crowd as she won the Women’s 400m at Saturday’s Morton Games. In what was her first time competing at the meet, Becker looked strong as she crossed the line in 52.69s to win. The Wexford native will compete individually at the World Championships as well as being part of the Mixed Relay team. Bronze medallist at last week’s National Championships, Cliodhna Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers) finished second, while National 400m Hurdles champion Kelly McGrory (Tír Chonaill AC) was fifth.
“I’m a bit dead but I’m always a bit dead after a 400m, delighted to take the win. It was my first time doing the Morton Games so it’s always nice to come home in first place especially when the crowd is like this,” Becker told the Irish Runner after the race.
Becker was full of praise for the crowd who came out to support the athletes.
“It was the same as last week at Nationals. The crowd honestly drags you home. They might as well have a rope and be just dragging you, it’s great”.
Becker is now looking forward to a “big summer ahead” which she says is “only getting started”.
Another Irish athlete with a busy couple of months ahead is 100m Hurdler Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC). Lavin had made a lighting start but clipped the third last hurdle, causing her to stumble. She finished in a time of 13.10s to finish second, behind Jade Barber (United States) who ran a new Stadium Record of 12.97s. The Limerick woman jets off to Oregon later this week after competing at Cork City Sports this evening.
“It was the same mistake that I guess I made in Stockholm. I got a really good start something which I probably struggled with in the first half of the season, where I wasn’t bringing the 7.9s I ran Indoors to the 100m Hurdles. I think I probably am doing it a little bit this week, but my legs just aren’t reacting quick enough and I’m making mistakes towards the end of the race. I’ve one more shot on Tuesday (tonight) in Cork to get it right particularly at Worlds there’s just not going to be that opportunity to make a mistake,” said Lavin when speaking to the Irish Runner after.
Lavin was also full of praise for the meet.
“This has been an amazing meet, I can’t get over the hospitality, I guess you never really see that side of it when you’re not coming from abroad. They really looked after me, thank you to everyone in Clonliffe.”
The talented hurdler spent plenty of time after the race signing autographs and handing out lanyards and bibs from races across the world to many young athletes who undoubtedly aspire to be like her one day.
“I was that kid for that kid for so long. I remember going down to watch Cork City Sports watching Derval (O’Rourke) competing and everyone else, so I know exactly what it’s like and I’ve no doubt that those kids are going to be competing for Ireland and potentially Olympians in the future.”
Kate Doherty (Dundrum South Dublin AC) finished fifth in the race in 13.67s, while St. Coleman’s South Mayo AC duo Sarah Quinn and Niamh O’Neill were sixth and seventh respectively.