The afternoon’s session on day 3 of the European Athletics U23 Championships continued in stunning fashion for Team Ireland with a further two top tens and a new National U23 Record secured.
Leading the way for the Irish on the penultimate day of Espoo 2023 were the quartet of Gabriel Kehinde, Runo Ayavoro, Colin Doyle, and Israel Olatunde who returned to the track following their National U23 4x100m record of 39.52 earlier in the day, only to better that time in the European final with a superb 39.51 NU23R to take 5th place.
Speaking after the race, Israel Olatunde, who clocked the fastest anchor leg (8.95) said: “The last few years for the relay team has been a journey and we want to thank our coach Daniel Kilgallon and Christian Malcolm for supporting us out here. Hopefully, we can build on this and make more finals and keep pushing the Irish relay on over the next few years. We all get so much support from home and we’re so grateful to everyone”.
The 4x100m relay medals went the way of Italy 38.92 NU23R, France 38.92 SB, and Poland 39.06.
Ava O’Connor (Tullamore AC) finished 8th in the 3,000m steeple chase final, unleashing a fast-finishing kick over the last lap to cross in a lifetime best of 10:01:34 PB. O’Connor had clocked a five second personal best in qualifying for this afternoon’s final and was thrilled with the performance in her first year at U23 level, having only taken to the event relatively recently.
Speaking after the race, she said: “It’s really nice knowing my training is going in the right direct, to run two personal bests over the last three days is really encouraging. It’s my first year competing at U23 and it’s a new event for me, so to come out in here and make a final, I’m really happy with that”.
The Leevale pair of Anika Thompson (Leevale) and Colin Doyle (200m) rounded out day 3 for the Irish. Thompson battled bravely to stay with the leading pack over the opening laps of the 10,000m final before being left somewhat isolated in the hot evening conditions. The national U23 5,000m champion ultimately crossed in 12th place in 35:26.91, leaving everything on the track and will undoubtedly come back stronger following a long season stateside.
Doyle was back in action in the heats of the 200m and had to recovery quickly from his relay exploits earlier in the day. The Leevale sprinter posted 21.15 to finish an agonising one place outside of the non-automatic qualifier positions but he will take much positivity from his outings at this week’s championships.
The final day of Espoo 2023 has the potential to be one of the most memorable days for Irish athletics at these championships. Addel Laadjel will get the ball rolling in the 10,000m final from 8.50am (Irish time), before Cian McPhillips (800m Final), Sophie O’Sullivan (1500m Final), Sarah Healy (1500 Final), Ruby Millet (Long Jump Final), and the men’s 4x400m relay team make their final appearances with a bold showing expected by all as they go in search of Ireland’s 10th ever medal at a European U23 Championships.
All the action from Espoo is streamed live on All Athletics TV in partnership with RTE.
- Day 3 Results HERE.