Team Ireland returned to a hero’s welcome when they arrived at Dublin Airport last Monday evening from the European U18 Athletic Championships in Gyor, Hungary, having won three gold medals and a silver.
It was enough to see Ireland finish in seventh place on the medals table. At the forefront of Ireland’s success was Rhasidat Adeleke, who was born in Dublin to Nigerian parents.
Adeleke, who is just 15, ran a personal best of 23.53 on the way to 200m gold. That time beat her previous best which she recorded in the morning’s semi-final.
After winning the 200m final, she said: “It’s just so surreal, I just tried my best to keep my form, because I know when I’m under pressure I start to lose my form and slow down. “You have to really get a good bend and then you just drive on and keep going on the straight.”
President Michael D Higgins was amongst those to praise Adeleke on her victory, tweeting his congratulations.
There was double medal success for 17-year-old Sarah Healy from Monkstown in Dublin, who took gold in the 3,000m in a championship record time. She followed that up with another record on her way to victory in the 1,500m final.
She said: “I just relaxed, hung out at the hotel with some of the other guys, watched Love Island to take my mind off things. I was pretty relaxed!” Healy said when reflecting on her latter success.
“It’s such a good team, when I walked out there were all these Irish people cheering for me – it was great!”
There was also a place on the podium for Sophie O’Sullivan, the daughter of Sonia, who ran a personal best of 2:06.05 in the 800m to take silver. Born and raised in Australia, O’Sullivan was making her debut appearance for an Ireland team. She also had the pleasure of receiving her medal from her mum, who was asked to do the honours.