Team Ireland has officially selected the Athletics Track and Field and 20km Race Walk team who will be competing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The later than expected naming of the team is likely to centre on the addition of one name and the omission of another.
There will now be twenty-five athletes competing across the athletics events, part of a 114 strong athlete team competing for Ireland, our largest ever at an Olympic Games.
Last month the Marathon and 50km Race Walk team was announced, with seven athletes competing in Sapporo, yesterday’s announcement includes athletes who both achieved qualification standards in their respective events, or who finished within the rankings on the cut off day last week.
It was a tense final few weeks for those competing, especially those on the cusp of the qualification cut off, with concurrent competitions taking place around the world right up until the final day. Mark English and Sarah Lavin had a tense wait and tough competition decisions to make right up until the final few days, with English achieving his automatic qualifying time on the last day.
Sprinter Leon Reid has been added back into the squad after an appeal. He is awaiting a court appearance in England on charges of drugs and firearms offences, all of which he denies. With a court appearance unlikely before November, the Team Ireland selection committee have reversed a previous decision not to select him and he will take his place on the plane.
Adeleke’s absence is more of a contentious one. She has been the fastest Irish athlete at the distance this year, clocking her time in the NCAA Championships in June. Her decision to race in the 100 metres, which she won, and the 200 metres where she finished second to Phil Healy by the shortest possible margin, as opposed to the 400 metres, appears to have been the reason with selection criteria adamant that performing in a particular distance at the National Championships is a key element unless you gain permission.
Adeleke is still only 18 and clearly a star of the future but becoming an Olympian is a chance that can be fleeting and she will no doubt be disappointed.
Fellow rising star Sarah Healy has made it through though and will take her place in the blue riband 1500 metres alongside Ciara Mageean.
“The Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport, and we must acknowledge the outstanding work athletes and coaches have put in to overcome the challenges of the last 15 months,” said Athletics Performance director and Team Manager for Ireland at Tokyo 2020 Paul McNamara.
“The ‘end-game’ of the qualification period was excruciatingly difficult for many, but these athletes and their coaches expertly navigated the qualification system and have been rewarded with their place on the biggest stage.”
“The resilience shown by these athletes has resulted in Ireland’s second-biggest athletics team ever heading to a Games, and the highest ever number of individual qualifiers, all of whom are primed to take on the best in the world in just a few weeks’ time.”
“It is a real honour for any athlete to be selected to represent their country at the Olympic Games,” said Phil Healy.
“To achieve qualification in one event is a dream for any athlete as the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of any athletes career. I am thrilled to be selected for two individual events in addition to the mixed 4x400m relay. Every athlete has worked so hard to get to this point and it’s made all the more special to have such a large and strong athletics team heading to the Games.”
“I am very proud to be representing Ireland at my second Olympic Games,” added Thomas Barr.
“The men’s 400m hurdles is one of the most competitive events on the track at the moment and I can’t wait to line up and compete against the best on the biggest stage in the world.”
TEAM IRELAND ATHLETICS TEAM (18)
Thomas Barr (400m Hurdles)
Síofra Cléirigh Büttner (800m)
Andrew Coscoran (1500m)
Mark English (800m)
Michelle Finn (3,000m Steeplechase)
Eilish Flanagan (3,000m Steeplechase)
Phil Healy (200m/400m/400m Relay)
Sarah Healy (1500m)
David Kenny (20K Walk)
Sarah Lavin (100H)
Marcus Lawler (200m)
Ciara Mageean (1500m)
Nadia Power (800m)
Leon Reid (200m)
Louise Shanahan (800m)
Mixed 4 x 400m Relay Team (4 athletes from the following 6):
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