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Women in Sport

26th Aug 2023

Irish women’s 4x400m relay team racing without star performer Rhasidat Adeleke

Niall McIntyre

The Irish women’s 4 x 400m relay team will line up without their star performer Rhasidat Adeleke in Saturday’s World Championship heats.

The 20-year-old showed signs of tiredness on Wednesday night, when she wrapped up a marathon season with a fourth placed finish in the individual 400m.

Championship races aren’t ran on paper but had she matched her personal best time of 49.20 in the final, then Adeleke would have been in the medals.

That being said, her 50.13 fourth place finish was still a highly creditable showing for the Tallaght athlete, and something of a breakthrough for her at global level.

As well as that, when you consider that fatigue has began to impact on in recent times, the fact that she could still finish so high up in a global final certainly bodes well ahead of next year’s Paris Olympics.

“My body was kind of breaking down a bit,” she said earlier this week. “Just general fatigue.”

Adeleke had also mentioned in a separate interview that the journey from America to Budapest was catching up on her.

It is with this in mind, and with the Olympics on the agenda next year, it has been confirmed, that Adeleke will not run for the 4 x 400 team in Saturday’s heats which will be ran at 6.55 Irish time.

Adeleke will be replaced on the team by Donegal athlete Kelly McGrory, who will now line up alongside Sharlene Mawdsley, Roisin Harrison and Sophie Becker. The fact that McGrory’s personal best of 54.21 is five seconds slower than Adeleke certainly reduces the team’s chances.

“Team management, with a duty of care to all athletes in mind, and in consultation with Adeleke and her coach, and AAI’s medical team, have confirmed the decision,” read a statement from Athletics Ireland recently.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Cathal Dennehy on the Irish Independent, Athletics Ireland’s High Performance Director Paul McNamara expanded on the decision.

“The input from our medical team is that this is the right call. We can’t turn around and mandate that this girl race a 400m, or possible two fours, when the medical team are telling you, ‘she needs a break, she needs time off,” he said.

“There is a risk of injury if she races again.”

Adeleke, it should be pointed out, has faced a longer season than the majority of athletes in Budapest having come through the full, extensive NCAA calendar with her college the Univeristy of Texas already this year.

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