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Irish Team Aim For Medals At European Athletics Indoor Championships

Irish Team Aim For Medals At European Athletics Indoor Championships
Rory Cassidy
By Rory Cassidy
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A strong Irish team of 14 athletes will compete at this weekend's European Athletics Indoor Championships in the Ataköy Athletics Arena, Istanbul.

Despite the absences of star names Ciara Mageean and Rhasidat Adeleke, the Irish team contains plenty of depth with Athletics Ireland targeting four top-eight finishes.

A number of athletes will fancy their chances of walking away and returning to Dublin with silverware. Here Balls.ie looks at some of the Irish athletes to watch.

Israel Olatunde

The man of the moment at present. Israel Olatunde hadn't had an unbelievable start to his indoor season but he stole the show at the recent 123.ie National Senior Indoor Championships in Abbotstown. Olatunde clocked a swift 6.64s in the 60m semi-final, just shy of his own personal best, returning for the final a couple of hours later.

That was where the magic happened. Olatunde stormed to a new national record of 6.57s, taking 0.04s off Paul Hession's previous mark set in 2007. It elevated him into the world-class bracket for the event.

Olatunde now ranks in the top ten in Europe this season and top twenty in the world. To put into context how good his time was at the national championships, the Olympic 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs has only managed to run 6.55s this season.

While it will be difficult for Olatunde to medal, he is more than capable of making a final. Another personal best and he'll be there or thereabouts.


Mark English

Donegal man Mark English was probably the most likely Irish athlete to win a medal. However, he was forced to withdraw from the 800m on the opening day of the championships due to illness.

“I came here in great shape, but unfortunately I’m not in a position to do myself justice," he said.

He looked seriously impressive in winning his ninth national senior indoor 800m title less than two weeks ago and followed that up with a season's best and victory at the World Indoor Tour meet in Madrid three days later.


English who is now coached by Feidhlim Kelly of the Dublin Track Club has won two previous medals at the European Indoor Athletics Championships and most recently won bronze at the European Championships outdoors in Munich last summer.


John Fitzsimons also represents Ireland in the event.

Sarah Lavin

Limerick hurdler Sarah Lavin had a memorable 2022.


Lavin made the final of the 60m Hurdles at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, the semi-final of the 100m Hurdles at the World Championships in Oregon and went onto finish 5th at the European Championships outdoors in Munich.

She has had a remarkably consistent indoor season to date but broke new ground recently in Madrid as she lowered her personal best to 7.95s.

Lavin is ranked eighth in Europe this season and will be confident that she can make another European final.


Kate O'Connor

Despite having only turned 22 in December it feels like Dundalk native Kate O'Connor has been around for quite some time.

The multi-eventer is the Irish outdoor heptathlon record holder and indoor pentathlon record. That pentathlon record was broken in January as she recorded 4396 points across the 60m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put, Long Jump and 800m.

She also won silver in last summer's Commonwealth Games for Northern Ireland in Birmingham.

O'Connor has admitted that the World Championships in Budapest this August are her main priority but she no doubt will be hoping to put in a strong performance on Saturday and perhaps improve on her national record.

Sharlene Mawdsley

Having clocked a personal best of 51.91s this season the Tipperary woman will fancy her chances of making a European final.

At the recent national championships Mawdsley retained her 200m title in a new personal best proving she is in good shape going into this weekend.

With only six making the final, if she was to get there anything is possible. She would probably need to run the race of her life again to get amongst the medals.

Sophie Becker and Cliodhna Manning also compete in the event for Ireland. Phil Healy, Miriam Daly and Niamh Murray join the aforementioned trio in the 4x400m relay who also have an outside chance of a medal.

Full Irish team for European Athletics Indoor Championships

  • Joan Healy - 60m
  • Israel Olatunde - 60m
  • Sarah Lavin - 60mH
  • Sharlene Mawdsley - 400m & 4x400m
  • Sophie Becker - 400m & 4x400m
  • Cliodhna Manning - 400m & 4x400m
  • Phil Healy - 4x400m
  • Miriam Daly - 4x400m
  • Niamh Murray - 4x400m
  • Kate O'Connor - Pentathlon
  • John Fitzsimons - 800m
  • Andrew Coscoran - 1500m
  • Luke McCann - 1500m
  • Darragh McElhinney - 3000m

SEE ALSO: Israel Olatunde Goes Crazy After Smashing The Irish Indoor 60m Record

israel olatunde national athletics indoor championships
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