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Adeleke and Mawdsley ease into European 400m final

Ireland will have two runners in the women’s 400m final at the European Athletics Championships as Rhasidat Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley made it through their heats in Rome.

Two days on from both playing key roles as the Irish 4x400m mixed relay team made history by winning gold, Adeleke, Mawdsley and Sophie Becker were in individual action.

A medal favourite in the 400m, Adeleke was drawn into the first semi-final heat and kept much in reserve as she crossed the line first in a 50.54, the fastest overall from the three heats.

A case of getting the job done, and University of Texas competitor echoed that when she spoke to RTÉ Sport afterwards.

“I just wanted to make sure I was in contention, didn’t want to waste too much energy in the heats,” she said.

“I was looking at the screen, making sure I was in a good spot and got through well.”

After the high of winning a European gold on Friday and then yesterday’s medal ceremony, Adeleke was still to glad back in the thick of it.

“I feel good, it was good to get out there again, being in the stadium, being in the mix. It was a good run.

“The Irish fans are great; I love having them at all the championships, they are so supportive.

“I feel good, mentally I’m in a good place and I’m excited for the rest of the championship.

Becker finished fourth in heat two in 51.54 but did not advance, before Mawdsley ran a 50.99 in heat three to finish second and join Adeleke in booking a place into the final which is scheduled to take place at 8.50pm Irish time on Monday.

In contrast to Adeleke, Mawdsley admitted to feeling some effects from Friday’s exertions, but was pleased with her semi-final showing here.

“That’s the job done. The plan was to come in the top two, obviously that was automatic qualification for tomorrow’s final which is insane,” she said.

“I think I’m still feeling the repercussions of two days ago. I’m wrecked but that’s the job done.”That’s my second fastest time ever but to go in and do that today was amazing.

“Hopefully we can go faster again tomorrow. I was super nervous today so hopefully tomorrow now I’ll go in nice and relaxed and see what I can do. “Knowing you’re in good shape is always a little bit nerve-wracking because you always want to produce it, so to go sub-51 today, I’m really happy.”

Chris O’Donnell missed out on the male final, running a very creditable 45.72, but was disqualified for lane infringement in the aftermath.

He had finished fourth with his second fastest time of the season before it was discounted.

It was not going to be enough to progress even if his time was included.

Speaking after the race but before the DQ, he said: “On the balance of the whole championships, a third run might have been one too many. In the end I have run three really good runs in the championships.

“It’s really encouraging. It has been an unbelievable championships. I’m delighted because I feel like I belong here.”

Nicola Tuthill broke the Irish U23 national record

Earlier on Sunday, Nicola Tuthill has qualified for the final of the hammer, setting a new Irish U23 record in the process.

The 20-year-old from Bandon managed a distance of 69.85 on her third throw, which was enough for second place in her qualifying group A.

The qualification standard was 71.50, but the top 12 athletes would also qualify for the final, with Tuthill finishing seventh after the Group B athletes had completed their throws.

She’ll be back in the Stadio Olimpico for the final tomorrow night.

Just prior to confirmation of her qualification, Tuthill told David Gillick: “I’m happy enough, I think it’s my second farthest (throw) in a competition ever.

“To do it out here in my first senior international, it’s really nice to be able to perform on the day.”

Thomas Barr’s excellent week continued as he mounted a late surge to win his 400m hurdles heat and ease into tomorrow’s semi-final.

It was a return to the track for the first time since Friday’s relay gold and the Waterford native finished strongly on the home straight, passing early leaders Vit Muller and Mikael Antonio de Jesus, to cross the line first in a season’s best of 49.31.

He was the fastest qualifier of the 23 finishers and advances to tomorrow morning’s semi-finals. The Waterford sprinter previously won bronze at the event in the 2018 European Championships in Berlin.

“The aim was to win the heat,” Barr told RTÉ Sport.

“I left myself a little bit of work to do in the home straight. But I knew I’d be strong, I went out relatively conservative. Legs weren’t as strong as they were the other night, I’m not a morning person anyway. I’ll look forward to a round in the evening.

“But happy to have gotten the job done.”

Another Irish sprinter to progress this morning was Mark Smyth, who advanced in the heats of the 200m with a season’s best time of 20.93.

Placed in Lane 3 with no runner in the adjoining lanes, Smyth ran a terrific bend to come home in fourth place in the third heat.

The Raheny sprinter qualified 12th fastest over all for the semi-finals.

Mark Smyth qualified for the semi-finals of the 200m

“I was kind of running solo there in Lane 3,” Smyth told Gillick. “Tight, difficult. Probably won’t be much easier in the semis.

“I could feel myself coming, coming, coming. So, happy out.”

On the qualification where the 12 fastest sprinters qualify regardless of placing: “It’s a bit of a gimmick to be honest. I think European Athletics are one step away from adding a golden snitch to this event.

“It’s a bit ridiculous, slightly unfair. But we got to do what we got to do.”

Earlier, Hiko Tonosa finished 43rd in the men’s half marathon in a time of 1:05:42.

While Shona Heaslip and Emily Haggard-Kearney came home 34th and 64th respectively in the women’s equivalent. Both ran season’s best times, with Heaslip crossing the line in 1:12:19, and Haggard-Kearney clocking 1:17:04.

Kelly McGrory clocked a personal best to finish 7th in her heat in the women’s 400m hurdles.

The Donegal sprinter, a late addition to the team for the championships and placed in Lane 9, ran a superb 57.10, which ultimately left her as the 19th fastest of the 22 runners.

Irish in action this evening

MEN’S 200M SEMI-FINAL

8.35pm – Mark Smyth

WOMEN’S 1500M FINAL

9.36pm – Ciara Mageean, Sarah Healy




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