Team Ireland Ready for European Athletic Indoor Championships

ByEmma Porter |

An exciting Irish team of 15 athletes have begun to arrive in Istanbul for the European Athletics Indoor Championships which take place from March 2nd – 5th 2023.

Ireland will have fifteen athletes, including a relay team, taking to European competition across the busy four-day schedule.

The Irish team boasts plenty of international experience including World Indoor 60m Hurdles finalist Sarah Lavin, Commonwealth Games Heptathlon medallist Kate O’Connor, and recent national 60m record breaker Israel Olatunde.

The Women’s 4x400m relay team is included as one of only six qualifying nations and will compete in a straight final on Sunday.

The championships look set to be hugely competitive with the Atakoy Arena set to play host to more than 600 of Europe’s top athletes, including seven of the reigning Olympic Champions from Tokyo 2020 – Lamont Marcell Jacobs (60m), Karsten Warholm (400m), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (1500/3000m), Miltiadis Tentoglou (long jump), Pedro Pichardo (triple jump), Malaika Mihambo (long jump) and Nafissatou Thiam (pentathlon).

The first of the Irish to take to competition will be John Fitzsimons in the heats of the men’s 800m on Thursday afternoon (4.14pm Irish time). Live action will be available via RTE Sport across the 4 days.

More Information:

  • Event Website and full schedule: HERE
  • Where to watch: HERE
  • Live results: HERE
  • Irish All Time Lists: HERE
Thursday March 2nd

John Fitzsimons (Kildare AC) goes in the heats of the 800m (4.14pm) and has made his intentions to progress from Thursday’s heats clear. Fitzsimons stated in a recent media day with Athletics Ireland that he feels he has ‘matured as an athlete’ and that he is in a better place to show his true running come Thursday.

The 800m entry list looked stacked, but Fitzsimons will have sights set on making the weekend’s latter rounds.

The flying 1500m pair of Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea AC) and Luke McCann (UCD) will also be in round 1 action on Thursday (6.05pm).  Coscoran comes into this week buoyed by his recent record-breaking performance of 3.33.49 at the World Indoor Tour Meet in Birmingham last Saturday (Feb 25th).

McCann was right on the coat-tails of Coscoran on that occasion and expect to see both athletes leave nothing to chance as they look to make it into Friday’s final where Olympic Champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen will likely await.

  • European Athletics 1500m Preview HERE
Friday March 3rd

Commonwealth Games Heptathlon medallist Kate O’Connor will lead Ireland out on Friday, with the Dundalk St Gerards athlete taking to another busy day of competition in the pentathlon. O’Connor will start off with the 60m hurdles early on Friday morning (6.00am) before taking to the high jump, shot put, long jump, and 800m.

O’Connor will have sights on the leading places, and if reproducing the superb January performance which saw her smash the Irish indoor pentathlon record with 4,396, she should be right there come the final 800m.

  • European Athletics Pentathlon Preview HERE

The women’s 400m looks arguably the highest quality event of the week. National champion Sophie Becker (Raheny Shamrock), Sharlene Mawdsley (Newport AC), and Cliodhna Manning (Kilkenny City Harriers) will bid to progress through Friday’s tricky heats (7.40am).

Mawdsley boasts a PB this season of 51.91, with Rhasidat Adeleke the only Irish athletes to go faster in 2023. A reproduction of that performance would see Mawdsley right in contention for a final appearance.

Sophie Becker claimed the national 400m title on her first outing of the season with a dominant display. Expect to see the Raheny star improve on her seasons best of 53.11 as she looks to progress through the rounds.

The semi-finals of the 400m will follow in Friday’s afternoon session (4.55pm)

  • European Athletics 400m Preview HERE

Joan Healy rounds out the Irish in action in Friday’s morning session with the Leevale athlete extending her indoor season on the back of a string of outstanding 60m performances in recent weeks. Healy ran 7.30 last weekend which ranks as the fastest of her career so expect to see her target sub 7.30 as she looks to break into the semis.

Friday’s afternoon session will be live on RTE 2 and will include the women’s 60m and 400m semi-finals, as well as the men’s 1500m final.

All eyes will then turn to the final 800m of the pentathlon as Kate O’Connor rounds out her competition.

Saturday March 4th

Ireland’s fastest man Israel Olatunde returns to European competition on the back of breaking the Irish national 60m record two weeks previous (6.57). The Munich 2022 finalist is sure to have sights on making another international final, but he too will face a tricky set of heats early on Saturday morning (6.20am). Olatunde is ranked 8th in Europe coming intot this week and should he safely negotiate round 1, we can expect to see the UCD sprinter back on track for the semi-final at 3.45pm on Saturday.

  • European Athletics 60m Preview HERE

Olatunde’s UCD teammate Darragh McElhinney will go in the first round of the 3000m on Saturday morning. McElhinney looked very impressive in taking the national 3000m title recently and will likely need all of that blistering final kick if looking to improve on his personal best of 7.45.79 set earlier this month.

  • European Athletics 3000m Preview HERE

World Indoor finalist Sarah Lavin will take to the starting blocks for the first round of the 60m hurdles on Saturday morning (7.35am). Lavin has looked ultra-consistent this season which augurs well for the Emerald AC star progressing from the early rounds.

The recent national 60mH champion has threatened the 8 second barrier on several occasions this season, finally smashing the mark with a PB of 7.95 in Madrid last week which would have her right in the mix if making Sunday’s final.

  • European Athletics 60mH Preview HERE

Saturday’s evening session will see the semi-finals and final of the men’s 60m take place, while the finalists of the men’s 800m will also be decided with the semi-finals set for a 5.22pm start.

The women’s 400m final is set for 5.30pm and could be one of the fastest races of the week.

Sunday March 5th

Sunday’s morning session will see the semi-final of the women’s 60m hurdles take place (7.55am), with the final set for later in the day (6.05pm).

The men’s 800m and 3000m finals will take place during the evening session, while one of Ireland’s best medal hopes of the week will likely come in the women’s 4x400m relay final which is set for 4.25pm.

Irish Athlete Schedule (times listed in Irish time):

Name Club Event Irish Time
John Fitzsimons Kildare AC 800m R1 Thur 4pm
Andrew Coscoran Star of the Sea AC 1500m R1 Thur 6.05pm
Luke McCann UCD AC 1500m R1 Thur 6.05pm
Kate O’Connor Dundalk St Gerards Pentathlon 60mH Fri 6.00am
Kate O’Connor Dundalk St Gerards Pentathlon HJ Fri 6.45am
Sharlene Mawdsley Newport AC 400m R1 Fri 7.40am
Sophie Becker Raheny Shamrock AC 400m R1 Fri 7.40am
Cliodhna Manning Kilkenny City Harriers 400m R1 Fri 7.40am
Joan Healy Leevale AC 60m R1 Fri 9.05am
Kate O’Connor Dundalk St Gerards Pentathlon SP Fri 9.30am
Women’s   60m Semi Final Fri 4.05pm
Kate O’Connor Dundalk St Gerards Pentathlon LJ Fri 4.10pm
Women’s   400m Semi Final Fri 4.55pm
Men’s   1500m Final Fri 5.40pm
Kate O’Connor Dundalk St Gerards Pentathlon Fri 6.05pm
Women’s   60m Final Fri 6.45pm
Israel Olatunde UCD AC 60m Sat 6.20am
Darragh McElhinney UCD AC 3000m Sat 7.00am
Sarah Lavin Emerald AC 60mH Sat 7.35am
Men’s   60m Semi Final Sat 3.45pm
Men’s   800m Semi Final Sat 4.35pm
Women’s   400m Final Sat 5.30pm
Men’s   60m Final Sat 5.55pm
Women’s   60mH Semi Final Sun 7.55am
Women’s Relay Team   4x400m Final Sun 4.25pm
Men’s   3000m Final Sun 5.00pm
Men’s   800m Final Sun 5.22pm
Women’s   60mH Final Sun 5.55pm
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