IRISH ATHLETES SIGN OFF ISTANBUL 2023 IN STYLE
Team Ireland signed off the European Athletics Indoor Championships in style today, with Darragh McElhinney (4th in 3000m), Sarah Lavin (6th in 60m hurdles), and the women’s 4x400m team (5th) all securing top-six-placings on the final day of Istanbul 2023 (March 5th).
Darragh McElhinney (UCD AC) produced the race of his life in the men’s 3,000m final. Running in his first major indoor track final, McElhinney showed experience beyond his years to power home to a superb 4th place in a personal best time of 7:44.72.
The 22-year-old UCD athlete settled comfortably in the middle of the pack from the gun before an injection of pace from Jakob Ingebrigsten at the 2000m mark quickly stretched the field, with the Norwegian’s unrelenting surge ultimately taking him all the way to gold.
McElhinney meanwhile made a surge of his own, making up 6 places over the last 800m with his customary late kick showing no ill effects from yesterday’s qualifying round.
Today’s 4th place finish represented another huge leap forward for the Cork athlete and his sights will now be firmly set on going shoulder-to-shoulder with Europe’s elite in pursuit of the podium position that was so agonisingly close today.
The 3000m medals went the way of Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) 7:40.32 NR, Adel Mechall (ESP) 7:41.75 SB, and Elzan Bibic (SRB) 7:44.03.
Sarah Lavin (Emerald AC) finished 6th in the 60m hurdles final. Running from lane 8, Lavin crossed in a time of 8.03, maintaining her position as one of Ireland’s most consistent performers at major international championships.
Today ranked as her third major final appearance in the last 12 months, following on from the World indoor final last March, and her 5th place finish at the European outdoor championships in Munich.
The Emerald AC athlete will now look to transition her indoor form, which included her running the fastest 60m hurdles of her life, to outdoors with the World Championships in Budapest in August the key target.
Today’s 60m hurdles podium positions were filled by Reetta Hurske (FIN) 7.79 NR, Nadine Visser (NED) 7.84 SB, and Ditaji Kambundji (SUI) 7.91.
The Irish 4x400m relay team of Sophie Becker, Sharlene Mawdsley, Cliodhna Manning, and Phil Healy led out team Ireland in this evening’s session, finishing fifth in the 4x400m final in a time of 3:32.61.
Sophie Becker (53.70) exploded from the blocks to claim a great position at the break but was hampered throughout the final 200m which would see her reach the 400m changeover in 5th place.
Sharlene Mawdsley (51.15) ran a superb leg to pick up a place before handing over to Cliodhna Manning (54.39) who also rallied to regain a position lost in her first 200m.
Phil Healy (53.37) battled bravely to bring the Irish team home ahead of team GB with a dipped finish on the line.
The team were roared on by their relay teammates Miriam Daly and Niamh Murray who also played an important role in preparations for today’s final.
The medals would ultimately go the way of Netherlands 3:25.66 CR, Italy 3:28.61 NR, and Poland 3:29.31.
Today rounds out another hugely encouraging championships for team Ireland with six top-ten placings secured, including three in the top six.
Full results HERE
John Fitzsimons 800m – 16th
Andrew Corcoran 1500m – 12th
Luke McCann 1500m – 10th
Sophie Becker 400m – 16th
Cliodhna Manning 400m - 22nd
Sharlene Mawdsley 400m – 9th
Joan Healy 60m – 26th
Kate O’Connor Pentathlon – 9th
Israel Olatunde 60m – 18th
Women’s 4x400 relay – 5th
Darragh McElhinney – 4th
Sarah Lavin 60mH – 6th