The 150th edition of the Irish Life Health National Track and Field Championships closed a busy two-day schedule in thrilling fashion with a host of breath-taking performances across the evening session in Morton Stadium. Thomas Barr moved into double digits for national 400m hurdles titles, while Rhasidat Adeleke and Molly Scott provided fans in attendance with a breath-taking display of 100m sprinting, the pair being separated by the narrowest of margins.
Over 3,000 fans and competitors made their way to Santry over the course of the weekend including Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers, and they were treated to fine performances from a crop of young and experienced athletes that really do have the capacity to thrill.
Barr showed all his class in the men’s 400m hurdle final, crossing the finish in 50.37 to claim his 10th national title in the gusty evening conditions. He looked controlled throughout the lap and no doubt has sights set on international success later in the summer with both World and European Championships on the horizon.
The women’s 100m final was one of the most anticipated events of the weekend with the return of Rhasidat Adeleke to national competition. The race didn’t disappoint with Molly Scott pushing Adeleke all the way to the line with only the dip of Adeleke proving the difference in a dual which is sure to thrill Irish athletics fans for years to come. Adeleke crossed in 11.68, with Scott following in 11.69. Scott’s performance was made all the more impressive after an interrupted schedule in recent weeks.
Israel Olatunde continues to stamp his dominance on the men’s 100m division in Ireland, backing up his 2021 title-winning performance to yet again secure gold in a time of 10.51. The 20-year-old managed the heats, semi-final, and final on Sunday like a seasoned sprinter and the next few years will be exciting as fans of athletics follow his pursuit of Paul Hession’s national record of 10.18.
Olatunde’s training partner, Joseph Ojewum claimed silver in 10.72 and looks another with another exciting sprints career ahead of him. The consistent Colin Doyle secured bronze for Leevale in 10.78.
The women’s 400m final was a truly absorbing race with Olympic relay teammates Sophie Becker and Phil Healy leaving everything on the track as they battled for gold in one of the finishes of the weekend. Becker would ultimately regain her 400m title in one of the performances of her career as she toppled the 2021 champion to claim her second national outdoor 400m title in 52.34.
There was a masterclass of 800m tactical running by defending champion Louise Shanahan in a gun-to-tape performance. The national record holder controlled the pace from the front and never looked like being beaten as she ran the kick out of a quality field behind her to cross in 2.10.90. Jenna Bromell was next to cross in a super run for silver, while Claire Mooney outbattled Olympian Sarah Healy to claim bronze in.
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