Editor's Choice

Rhasidat Adeleke pays touching tribute to first coach Johnny Fox

Avatar photo

Irish sprint sensation Rhasidat Adeleke has paid an emotional tribute to her first ever coach Johnny Fox who passed away on Sunday night following a short illness, saying that he will never be “forgotten.”

Fox coached Adeleke to many successes in her early days in the sport most memorably her European U18 title in the 200m six years ago in Gyor, Hungary where she blitzed her rivals at the age of just 15.

Adeleke has spoken in the past about how Fox helped make her the competitive athlete she is today, encouraging her to take part in a broad range of events from Cross Country to the Shot Put.

Rhasidat Adeleke pays tribute to Johnny Fox

Speaking today as part of her ambassadorial role for Spar, the 21-year-old Dubliner paid tribute to Fox.

“I was really upset to hear the news this morning. It’s really hard.  He was such a staple individual in my life, he definitely shaped me in how I do things and helped shape me as a person. I knew that he was sick and I was praying that he was going to be fine,” she said.

“Johnny was so resilient. If you’d ever meet him, he’d always tell you the stories that he’d been through in his life. I always thought, wow, how can one person go through so much? He always came out the other end of it, he always had a smile on his face and he always gave us joy. He just invested himself so much into other people, he was so passionate.

“He was so selfless, an amazing man. I’m really, really sad to not have had the opportunity to see him in his last couple of days. It just kind of happened and it’s just really, really hard. I’ve just been thinking about all our times together and all the different experiences that we’ve had. His effect on not just my life, but the whole community.

“If you go to Tallaght everybody knew Johnny and knew what he did for the community, being part of Tallaght AC for over 50 years, his work for Pieta House…He did so many things. He was a staple in our community, and he will never be forgotten.”

Fox’s community work was so highly regarded that he received a National Volunteer Award.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Gertie and family at this difficult time.

Rhasidat Adeleke, Irish record-breaking sprint athlete, today launched SPAR’s European Athletics Championship campaign, which calls on the Irish public to show why we are known as the best fans in the world. To win a 3-day trip for two to hand deliver a SPAR care package of Irish comforts to the sprint star at the 2024 European Championships in Rome, SPAR shoppers are being asked to send messages of support for Rhasidat. Details of SPAR’s Rome Comforts can be found on www.spar.ie or @SPAR_Ireland on Instagram with information on how to enter the competition.

Irish Runner logo

The Runner’s Connect