The World Athletics Championships in Budapest continues to live up to exhilarating expectations. Ireland's Rhasidat Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley got their individual events underway in the 400M and saw them both secure semi-final spots with their performances.
INTO THE SEMI-FINALS! 🇮🇪
TWO Irish athletes into the 400M semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships. 🇮🇪
Rhasidat Adeleke cruised home in her heat to automatically qualify while Sharlene Mawdsley ran a PB of 51.17 and qualifies outside the non-automatic spots.
Massive 🔥 pic.twitter.com/v7YvdYH91a
— Her Sport (@HerSportDotIE) August 20, 2023
Adeleke, who has the expectations of the world on her shoulders, took to the track with her usual calm and controlled demeanor. Her race itself followed the script as she negotiated her way safely through the heat, displaying the poise and class that has defined her short athletics career to date. With a smooth and powerful run, she cruised into the semi-finals without breaking a sweat. Adeleke clocked 50.80s to win the heat.
"That was one of the easiest 50.8s I've ran. I felt really, really good, really controlled."
Rhasidat Adeleke is back in the world semi-final - 8:12pm Irish time tomorrow pic.twitter.com/ovacvoZMEC
— Cathal Dennehy (@Cathal_Dennehy) August 20, 2023
Meanwhile, Team Ireland teammate, Sharlene Mawdsley added to her rising stock as the Tipperary athlete, who has been on a brilliant trajectory throughout the season, produced a personal best of 51.17 to qualify as the fourth fastest non-automatic qualifer. Her remarkable feat was compounded by the fact that she had already competed twice in the 4x400m mixed relay the day before, with just a few hours sleep!
Mawdsley has been drawn in lane 1 in the semi-finals which includes the Netherlands' Lieke Klaver and GB's Ama Pipi. The first two athletes in each heat will progress to the final alongside the next two fastest times.
🗣️ “It’s amazing. I really can’t believe what I just produced.”
A delighted Sharlene Mawdsley reacts after progressing to the semi-finals of the Women’s 400m at the World Championships clocking a new personal best ✨🙌🏻#IrishAthletics #Budapest2023 @Ask123ie pic.twitter.com/A9u5a4OY4E
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) August 20, 2023
As the dust for the heats settle, the stage is set for an epic semi-final showdown. Adeleke who will have eyes on the final won't have it easy. Her semi-final draw has placed her alongside the gold medal favourite, Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic, who clocked the fastest time in the heats with a commanding 49.90. The Jamaican flyer, Candice McLeod is also in the heat running in lane 9.
In the backdrop of the semi-final hype, there was a surprise exit from US star Britton Wilson. Wilson's unexpected eighth-place finish in her heat, clocking in at 53.87, left on-lookers stunned. The heat appeared to take its toll.
Not what you want to see. 😢
🇺🇸 Team USA’s Britton Wilson was taken off the track in a wheelchair after finishing last (53.87s) in her 400m heat. Wishing her a speedy recovery.
Jamaica’s 400m champion Nickisha Pryce won the heat in 50.38s. 🇯🇲 #WorldAthleticsChamps pic.twitter.com/rCpV7hfQZT
— CITIUS MAG (@CitiusMag) August 20, 2023
Other contenders to keep an eye on are Sada Williams of Barbados and Natalia Kaczmarek of Poland. Williams who won bronze at last year's Worlds, dominated her heat with a remarkable time of 50.78. Williams seemed to glide through the track, shutting down with 40 meters to go. She looks capable of running sub 49 with ease. With the form she showed in the heats, she might be a surprise contender for gold. Reigning Olympic and World Champion, Shaunae Miller-Uibo ran in the same heat as Williams. Miller-Uibo finished 7th, competing at the Worlds just four months after giving birth to her first child.
— Travis Miller (@travismillerx13) August 20, 2023
Rhasidat Adeleke Semi-Final: 21st August 2023 20:12pm
Sharlene Mawdsley Semi-Final: 21st August 2023 20:20pm