"To be able to call myself the fastest man in Irish history is just amazing" - Olatunde overjoyed after record-breaking run 1 month ago

"To be able to call myself the fastest man in Irish history is just amazing" - Olatunde overjoyed after record-breaking run

He's just 20 years of age but Dundalk native Israel Olatunde is already Ireland's fastest man.

Having knocked on the door in his heat and semi-final, the Irish sprinter saved his best performance for the final as he ran a 10.17 time to beat Paul Hession's record by one hundredth of a second.

Advertisement

Hession, the Athenry native, set his mark back in 2007 in Finland and here in Munich, this was another famous night for Irish athletics. As one of the youngest athletes in the field, Olatunde wasn't expected to feature but as it turned out, with his sixth place finish, he ended up only four hundredths of a second away from the bronze medal.

"To be able to call myself the fastest man in Irish history is just amazing," Olatunde told David Gillick on RTE Sport afterwards.

"To be here in a European final, finish sixth and get a national record, I just can’t believe it to be honest. I had no idea I ran that fast. It's a dream come true," he added.

It would have been daunting for many, starting out in lane seven, on the right hand side of the Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs, but Olatunde revelled in the occasion. Jacobs did come out on top with his time of 9.95 but it was all tight in behind, with Olatunde beating Great Britain's Reece Prescod - a former European silver medalist, into seventh place.

Advertisement

"The atmosphere was amazing, the crowd was amazing. These are the fastest guys in Europe and I’m up there with them. I’m so happy to be there and I know I can definitely improve so I’m looking forward to that.

"Thank you to my coach (Daniel Kilgallon), my training partners, my family, my community, everybody that has been supporting me and showing me so much love. It has pushed me on to get to this point, so I'm really so grateful."

Advertisement

"I think just believing in myself and my faith. Believing in those people around me that have been supporting," he added.

"It has been a long journey to get here. I know I’m still young and I have a long way to go but I’m grateful for the journey I have been on to get to this point.

"I know this isn’t going to be the end. I’ll look back on the season with my coach and see what we can improve on.

"I think next year is going to be another big season: European Indoor Championships, World Indoor Championships, European Under-23 Championships. I’m looking forward to all of them and I’m hoping to put in better performances."

Advertisement

But first up, it's Friday morning's 4 X 100m relay, where Olatunde will lead the Irish team.