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Ireland’s Phil Healy, Rhasidat Adeleke, Sophie Becker and Sharlene Mawdsley. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
Athletics

Ireland win European Championship silver in Women’s 4x400m

The team of Sophie Becker, Rhasidat Adeleke, Phil Healy and Sharlene Mawdsley ran a new national record time of 3:22.71.

LAST UPDATE | 12 Jun

IRELAND HAVE SECURED more track success at the European Championships in Rome tonight, with the women’s 4x400m relay team winning silver at the Stadio Olimpico.

The team of Sophie Becker, Rhasidat Adeleke, Phil Healy and Sharlene Mawdsley recorded a new national record time of 3:22.71, but were pipped by the Dutch team of Lieke Klaver, Cathelijn Peeters, Lisanne de Witte and Femke Bol to gold.

The previous Irish national record was 3:24.38 – set by the same quartet at the World Relays in the Bahamas last month.

Their success continues a brilliant championships for Ireland, with Ciara Mageean winning 1500m gold earlier this week after Adeleke and Mawdsley were part of the Ireland mixed 4x400m team who stormed to gold last Friday.

The Dutch went into tonight’s race as the defending European champions, with three of their team alreading winning individual medals at these championships – Bol taking gold and Peeters winning bronze in the 400 metre hurdles, while Klaver claimed bronze in the 400m.

Running in lane six, Becker was first up for Ireland, completing her leg in 52 seconds.

The Dutch led through the first 400m before Adeleke ran a stunning leg to bring Ireland into first after passing Peeters on the turn – her split of 49.36 the second fastest across the race.

Healy delivered a strong third leg but was just overtaken by De Witte approaching the final handover, clocking a time of 51.51.

Mawdsley then chased down Bol on the final leg with another superb run to secure silver for Ireland – her time of 49.84 faster than Bol’s 50.45.

With four medals secured, this is now Ireland’s most successful European Championships.

There is further Irish involvement in two more finals tonight.

Brian Fay, Efrem Gidey, Peter Lynch, Cormac Dalton and Barry Keane run in the men’s 10,000m final at 8.44pm, with Andrew Coscoran in the men’s 1,500m final at 9.26pm.

‘It’s so exciting’

Adeleke said there’s more to come from Ireland’s brilliant relay team after tonight’s stunning silver medal in the women’s 4x4oom final at the European Championships.

The Irish team set a new national record time of 3:22.71 to take silver at the Stadio Olimpico, as the defending European champion Dutch team won gold.

Adeleke, a gold medal winner in last Friday’s mixed 4x400m final, had Ireland in pole position with a stunning second leg, her split of 49.36 the second fastest across the race.

“It was so exciting,” Adeleke told RTÉ.

“Just to be out there with the girls, I love running the relays because it’s just so fun. We were in the tunnel cracking jokes and having the best time ever (before the race). So just to be out here, regardless of how we did, and on top of that to win the medal, it just couldn’t be better.

“I’m so proud of them and I’m proud of everyone, the two subs, the coaches, everyone back in Ireland, everyone who came to support us, it all makes us happy.”

“I honestly can’t believe it,” added Sophie Becker, who was out first for Ireland and ran her leg in 52 seconds.

“I’m so proud of these girls, I love you, I’m speechless! This is everything we dreamed of. 3:22, when the national record was 3:26 honestly I thought we’d never break that, and here we are two years on, 3:22, I cannot believe it.

“The crowd, the Irish here when they called us coming in, it’s just everything I’ve dreamed of.”

The silver represents the first senior medal of Phil Healy’s career. The Cork athlete ran 51.51 on one of the greatest nights of her career, having previously considered retirement.

“I knew I was going to get it in a great position with Rhasidat going before me, and I just wanted to lead it from the front,” Healy said.

This is just massive. It’s the stuff of dreams and what we trained for. This is so, so special.

“I definitely contemplated retiring last summer many, many times and I stuck with it. It makes it all worth it for special moments like this and obviously I’m the oldest member of this relay team.

“I remember back to my first senior championships in 2014 and that’s a long time ago. Year after year competing on the stage and it’s my first major medal so it’s very special and makes the last few tough years so worthwhile.”

“Honestly it’s amazing,” said Mawdsley. “I’m absolutely beyond exhausted at this point. I was telling myself the whole warm-up that it was just one more lap but the girls got me through that run.

“Honestly I could hear them cheering, I thought maybe I had Femke down the home straight but just the legs were a little bit dead today. But honestly, to win a medal, I’m so thankful we were able to do it with the girls today. The mixed was amazing but there’s something special with this group of girls. Rhasidat said it, we have the best time and like Sophie said, I love them all.”

Written by Ciarán Kennedy. The Journal publishes the biggest breaking news in Irish and international sport but for all of the 42′s insightful analysis and sharp sportswriting, subscribe here.

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