Editor's Choice

Sarah Lavin aims for medal glory at European Athletics Championships

Avatar photo

Ten years on from her first European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Sarah Lavin is once again ready to return to that stage next week, as the Italian capital Rome prepares to play host to the event.

Lavin, who will compete in the 100m Hurdles, has been in phenomenal form in recent times and will look to improve on her fifth place finish which she achieved at these championships two years ago in Munich.

It is a massive season for the Limerick sprint hurdler who has her eyes set on the Paris Olympic Games which get underway in less than two months.

The start of Lavin’s season has been encouraging. She got things underway with her fastest ever opener (12.73) at the Diamond League meeting in Doha, suffering a heavy fall as she crossed the line. From there, two more races have followed, with a mistake in the first of them costing her dearly.

“The hurdles were coming at me very quick; I’m moving at a much higher speed than I have before so it’s trying to get the legs to react,” she said.

Last summer Lavin broke Derval O’Rourke’s Irish record when she clocked 12.62 seconds in the semi-final of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Now she feels like she will have to go quicker to earn a place on the podium in Rome.

“I reckon you’ll have to be in the 12.50’s to be honest. I think that ultimately that is what you want to do but doing it is very, very different.

“You need those moments where absolutely everything goes right, and you have absolute precision. I’ll just be doing everything possible I can for the next ten days, holding up the head and mental strength. When you get to this level, mental fortitude is a lot of it.

“No athlete should come on here and tell you that they shouldn’t want a medal. We want to medal for ourselves, for our coaches, for our families, for all of the Irish contingent that have been absolutely incredible.”

Sarah Lavin on Irish team heading to Rome

Lavin turned 30 during the week and is now one of the more experienced athletes on the Irish team which is expected to include in excess of forty athletes once fully confirmed. She was keen to talk up the chances of collective success.

“Since Munich two years ago, the following that the sport has gained is something that still almost shocks us when we go out. It’s a sign of such a healthy team. I would have to say that this is probably the strongest team that I have been a part of,” she said.

“From a team perspective, we’re capable of delivering medals but medals require very special people to produce very special performances. There are a lot of special people on the team, but we need those magic moments. Please God we can get them.”

Lavin will get a bye from the heats as she is ranked in the top twelve in Europe and will go straight into the semi-final on the evening of Saturday week, June 8th. The final, should she make it, will follow a couple of hours later as one of Ireland’s top athletes finally looks to win what would be an incredibly well deserved first senior international medal.

Irish Runner logo

The Runner’s Connect