Sophie O’Sullivan (Ballymore Cobh AC) and Sarah Healy (UCD AC) have claimed a historic Irish 1-2 in the women’s 1500m at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Espoo, Finland with O’Sullivan’s medal becoming the first ever gold secured by an Irish athlete at these championships.
Healy and O’Sullivan are no strangers to European success, and both came into this week with lofty expectations as the first (Healy) and second (O’Sullivan) ranked athletes.
Healy looked to control the race from the front and largely managed to dictate proceedings until the final lap where O’Sullivan unleashed a finishing kick which would ultimately see her run to gold a 4:07.18 PB. Healy crossed just behind in 4:07.36 with Britain’s Shannon Flockhart third in 4:08.37.
Speaking after the race, O’Sullivan said: “It feels fantastic, I was second five years ago so it’s good to get the gold. The big thing for me was staying as close as possible on the third lap as I tend to get distracted mid-race. It’s great to do it with Sarah and to go 1-2 for Ireland too.”
Sarah Healy was understandably disappointed to narrowly miss out on the gold medal but was proud of the achievement both her and O’Sullivan had achieved. She said: “I’m disappointed, obviously. Coming in ranked number one, it’s disappointing to finish below that but if someone was to beat me, I’m glad it was Sophie. It’s special for Ireland to get two medals so I’m really glad to be part of that.”
Ruby Millet (St Abbans AC) was the last of the Irish contingent left competing at these championships, finishing 11th in the long jump final with a 6.09m following yesterday’s superb outdoor PB of 6.42m.