RHASIDAT ADELEKE SELECTED AS TEAM IRELAND FLAGBEARER FOR EYOF CLOSING CEREMONY
Rhasidat Adeleke has been announced as the Team Ireland Flagbearer for the Closing Ceremony at the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Baku. Adeleke won two gold medals at the multi-sport games that take place every two years and are run by the European Olympic Committees. The other two medals coming home to Ireland are courtesy of swimmer Molly Mayne, who won bronze in both the 100m and 200m Breaststroke events.
“I’m just so happy,” the Dubliner said on learning the news, “I’ve never been a flagbearer before, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like! So, walking out there with the flag flowing in the air – I’m going to be really proud.”
Speaking about the Adeleke’s selection as flagbearer, Chef de Mission Gavin Noble said,
“Naturally Rhasidat performed incredibly, she couldn’t have done any more, but too she is very popular amongst our team. So, with or without the medals we would all be more than proud for her to lead us home”
Reflecting on the EYOF, Noble added,
“Everyone learns in a week like this, athletes and staff alike. What’s important now, especially for our youths, is that these learnings are acted upon for their next time in Irish green. The more our younger athletes, coaches and staff are exposed to a higher level of competition at the correct time in their development, ultimately the better we should be aiming for in senior competition.”
Today was the last day of action for Team Ireland at the EYOF, with athletics being the only sport on the Irish schedule.
In a slightly changed line up, the Boy’s Medley Relay were competing in their Final today – yesterday they had qualified as the second fastest team, but in the final they had to settle for seventh in a time of 1.56.94. Cian Dunne opened it up with a strong 100m, passing the baton to Israel Olatunde (200m). Next up was Diarmuid O’Connor racing 300m and Robert McDonnell finished it out with a 400m dash.
“It was a tough race,” boys’ team captain, Olatunde, commented after the race. “I’m really proud of all these guys. And Charles as well who got injured in the heat. I’m really proud of how far we have come in such a short space of time. I felt we ran well in both the heat and the final, and I’m just really proud of the lads.”
In the Girl’s 1500m Ava O’Connor impressed finishing above her rankings in 7th with a tie of 4.34.98. The Tullamore Harriers runner showed grit and determination throughout the race, driving the pace in the final lap, only to be passed in the last 200m.
“I’m really happy with that one actually. Considering how low I was starting to finish seventh was a really good confidence boost for me. I know I missed out on medals but there’s plenty more to come. It was my first major championships too! I’m not even sixteen, I was probably one of the youngest in the field which made me really happy – I was able to beat some of the older girls. I’ll definitely be back for more next year!”
Fantastic racing from Ava O’ Connor in the Girl’s 1500m Final to finish 7th in 4.34.98, higher than her ranking going into the race. The determined @TullamoreH racer was quick out of the blocks and in the final lap moved to the front until the last 150🇮🇪#TeamIreland#EYOF2019pic.twitter.com/YQuYz1zOad
In the Boy’s 2000m Steeplechase John Fanning was left with too much to close in the second half of the race, after a stumble in the early stages put him on the back foot. He finished in 13th place on the line with a time of 6.43.58.
Speaking after the race the Skerries runner said, “I started off badly with a fall. The pace at the start surprised me, and it was quite packed in going into the first hurdle and I just didn’t get my approach right, and I hit it and fell on my shoulder and was on the back of the race for pretty much the whole thing.
“I just tried to close on as many people as I could, and I just nearly got them at the end. I’m happy with how I got up and finished, but also next time I think I’ll be more ready.”
Aoife O’Sullivan was competing in the High Jump, after qualifying for it earlier this week, clearing 1.75 on her first jump! It wasn’t her day, and O’Sullivan had to settle for an eventual 13th place with 1.66m,
“It was devastating. I really thought I could do much better. It’s my first year as well, so I’m happy I got here too – that makes me smile now.”
Team Ireland will be arriving in Dublin Airport at 10am on Monday morning into Terminal 1.
This was the final day of action in the EYOF, a European event for athletes aged 14-18 that runs every two years, and Team Ireland was represented by thirty-two athletes across five sports. Baku hosted the 2019 edition which runs from the 21 – 27 July.
The daily schedule of Team Ireland in Baku can be found HERE
Aoife O’Sullivan High Jump 13th with 1.66
Ava O’Connor 1500m 7th (4.34.98)
John Fanning 2000m Steeplechase 13th (6.43.58)
Boy’s Medley Relay – Cian Dunne (100m), Israel Olatunde (200m), Diarmuid O’Connor (300m), Robert McDonnell (400m) 7th (1.56.94)
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