Athletics

Sonia O'Sullivan Proud Of Daughter's Achievement At European Championships

Sonia O'Sullivan Proud Of Daughter's Achievement At European Championships

Saturday was a proud day for Sonia O'Sullivan. At European U18 Athletics Championships in Hungary, she watched her daughter Sophie win silver for Ireland in the 800m.

Still just 16, the competition in Hungary has been Sophie O'Sullivan's debut championships for Ireland.

"I told her tonight, 'Everybody's ranked number eight right now and every person you're ahead of is a bonus'," Sonia told European Athletics in an interview after the race.

The lack of pressure which Sonia appears to put on her daughter is notable. Despite her obvious athletics knowledge, the 1995 World Champion does not coach Sophie.

"There was no pressure of expectations. I just wanted her to go out there to run her best and walk off the track happy. She couldn't be happier, she's delighted with her performance.

"Her Dad asked me this afternoon, 'How do you think she will do?' and I didn't answer him because I didn't want to be making predictions.

"The 800m, it's one of those races, if you're in a good position and you're a competitive person, then anything can happen. I knew that if Sophie was in range of the top three, she would make sure that she got a medal.

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"I'm just delighted for her, I'm really, really happy."

Sophie, who goes to school in Australia, is currently on holidays. Just three weeks ago she was still running cross country races.

"To be part of the Irish team out here has been fantastic," continued Sonia.

"All the girls have been really welcoming to her. This is her first Irish team. She only knows the girls the past couple of weeks. They've all been really nice to her and she's had a fantastic time. It's been brilliant and hopefully many more years to come."

Sonia has been relaying messages to Sophie from her coach in Australia.

You try to tell her without telling her. You just want her to pick up little messages - not to go too early. She went a bit early in the semi-final. I tried to tell her, 'Listen, wait until 150m to go and when you come into the straight really go'.

These were messages that her coach told me. Her coach is in Australia, Tim O'Shaughnessy. He's been up all night in the middle of the week - 2am, 3am and 4am this morning. We've just been agreeing on messages to pass onto Sophie and to continue to give her positive instructions.

You can watch the interview with Sonia O'Sullivan below.


Picture credit: Sportsfile

See Also: Ireland's Rhasidat Adeleke Wins 200 M Gold At European Championships

PJ Browne
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