European Athletics Championships: Irish Women Win Silver in $x400 Relay

Irish Women
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After four frenetic laps at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the Irish women’s 4x400m relay team of Sophie Becker, Rhasidat Adeleke, Phil Healy, and Sharlene Mawdsley received their well-deserved silver medal.
There could be no regrets about not winning gold, having been defeated only by the defending world champions, with the irrepressible Femke Bol of the Netherlands running an anchor leg of measured grandeur, controlling everything from the front and leading her country to victory.
But there was justifiable pride among the Irish, who clocked a scorching 3:22.71 to break the national record of 3:24.38.

The Dutch finished first in 3:22.39, with Belgium coming in third at 3:22.95. “This is everything we dreamed of: 3:22 and the national record,” Becker stated. “I cannot believe it.”
There would be no regrets, shoulda-woulda-couldas, or what-might-have-beens. They had produced the best performance ever by an Irish women’s relay team and were simply up against a better squad after delivering an outstanding effort.
Becker led them out, clocking a 52.00-second first leg before giving over to Adeleke in sixth. Adeleke ripped through the first 200 meters of the second leg, finishing second before sprinting past 400m hurdles medalist Cathelijn Peeters of the Netherlands on the bend, her split of 49.36 putting Ireland ahead as Healy got the baton.

“I just wanted to make sure I put my team in the best position, my legs are a bit heavy,” Adeleke remarked.
Healy ran 51.51 seconds before turning over to Mawdsley in second, leaving the Irish a few yards behind the Dutch when the anchor leg began. Mawdsley played a patient game on the final leg, saving her effort for the home straight, but Bol is an athlete who rarely loses in that position, and despite a strong effort from Mawdsley – and a 49.84-second leg in her fifth race in six days – the Tipperary sprinter was unable to close the gap on the Dutch star.

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