Ireland's women's 4x400m relay team win silver and set new Irish record

Ireland's women's 4x400m relay team win silver and set new Irish record

Ireland's women's 4x400m relay team of Phil Healy, Sophie Becker, Rhasidat Adeleke, and Sharlene Mawdsley performed exceptionally at the European Championships in Rome last night. The quartet won silver for Ireland and, in the process, also set a new Irish record of three minutes, 22.71 seconds in the Italian capital.

The Netherlands were favourites for the top prize and lived up to their favourite tag by recording a time of 3:22.39. Belgium won bronze with a time of 3:22.95.

In the race, Becker started proceedings and recorded a split of 52.00, but the Netherlands’ Lieke Klaver took pole position at the first handover of the baton.

Next came Adeleke, who ran superbly to record a time of 49.36. She then let Healy take over, who ran 51.51 for the penultimate leg. Mawdsley, in the final sprint, ran a time of 49.84. She fought well to try and gain the lead, but the Dutch took home the top award in the end.

Mawdsley, speaking to RTÉ Sport afterward, said: "It's amazing; 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.

"I could hear the girls cheering, and I thought maybe I had Femke down the home straight, but the legs were a little bit dead today."

Becker added, "I'm speechless! This is everything we've dreamed of. The crowd, the Irish cheer when they called us in—it’s just everything I've dreamed of."

Adeleke then went on to say, "It was so exciting. Just to be out there with the girls, I love running the relays because it's such fun.

"We were in the tunnel cracking jokes and just having the best time ever. To be able to be out here, regardless of how we did, and then on top of that to make the final and win a medal, it just couldn't be better."

Healy, offering her take, said, "I'm not going to lie; I definitely contemplated retiring last summer many, many times.

"I stuck with it and it makes it all worth it for special moments like this. I'm definitely the oldest member of this relay team, and I remember back to my first senior championships in 2014. That's a long time ago.

"Year after year competing on the national stage, and now my first senior major medal, this is very, very special and makes the last few tough years so worthwhile."