"This will be looked back upon as one of the worst decisions ever made by Irish athletics"
The future is bright.
On what was a famous Saturday for Irish athletics, the country had three gold medal winners at the European U20 track and field championships in Estonia. Tallaght's Rhasidat Adeleke got the team off to a flying start when she followed up her 100m gold with a comprehensive victory in the 200m to complete the sprint double.
As well as destroying the field, the Dubliner broke her own Irish junior, U20 and senior records with her blistering time of 22.90 and if you were watching, as well as being blown away by the speed of it, you'd have probably said to yourself that this sprinter will go well in the Olympics. Unfortunately, there will be no trip to Tokyo for Rhasidat Adeleke, however, after she was surprisingly omitted from the mixed 4 X 400m relay team when the squad was announced last week.
What makes the omission all the more surprising is that it was only last month when Adeleke, in an NCAA championship relay race for her college, ran the fastest 400m by any Irish female this year with her leg of 51.86. Earlier in 2021, she also broke the Irish indoor junior record and that's why Sonia O'Sullivan, one of Ireland's greatest ever female athletes, reckons Athletics Ireland have made the wrong decision in keeping this speedster off the Tokyo team.
"This will be looked back upon as one of the worst decisions ever made by Irish athletics," tweeted Sonia in a reply to athletics journalist Cathal Dennehy.
The Cork woman went onto claim that, given the experience and the lessons she would learn in Tokyo, an exception should be made to take the Tallaght woman to her first Olympics.
This will be looked back upon as one of the worst decisions ever made by @irishathletics clearly one of the current best Irish athletes an outlier where exceptions should be made and brave decisions taken will always be looked back upon as one of those “what if ? “ decisions.
— sonia osullivan (@soniaagrith) July 17, 2021
Meanwhile, on what was a phenomenal afternoon for Irish athletes, Longford's Cian McPhillips followed in Adeleke's footsteps by swatting away the challenges of a high-class field to win the u20 1500m. The talented youngster ran a brave race from the front and with a scorching 54 second last lap, he was too good to be passed.
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) July 17, 2021
The best was saved 'til last, however, as 16-year-old Nick Griggs ran the race of his life to take the 3000m title. Running three years out of his age, it was an astonishing run by the youngster who strided clear to somewhat unbelievably leave Ireland on top of the medal table standings, ahead of Great Britain, ahead of Germany, three days into a four day event.
This kid is 16 years of age.
It's literally a boy running against men but Nick Griggs was too fast, he was too good and in the u20 3000m, he has just taken Ireland's third gold medal of the day 🇮🇪pic.twitter.com/QiVGIWFJMT
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 17, 2021
The future, we repeat, is bright.