Olympic silver medalist Sonia O’Sullivan was ecstatic with her daughter Sophie’s performance in her European U18 Championships 800m final on Saturday.
O’Sullivan finished in second place in the final in Gyor as the 16-year-old enjoyed an incredible start to her first major championship representing Ireland.
Born in Australia, Sophie decided to represent the country of her mother’s birth after previously winning the 800m and 1500m races at the Australian U17 championships.
O’Sullivan said that her daughter managed to keep her emotions in check before Saturday’s final and you can see in her face just how proud she is of Sophie’s efforts in a sport that brought her so much success around the turn of the last century.
One of the proudest parents in Gyor!
Sonia O'Sullivan's daughter Sophie won a silver medal in the 800m at the European U18 Championships last night.
Listen to her thoughts after last night's 800m final. pic.twitter.com/dnDP5KNN2O
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) July 8, 2018
“There was no pressure or expectations; I just wanted her to go out there and run her best and walk off the track happy,” O’Sullivan said of Sophie’s preparation for the final.
“She’s delighted with her performance. When I saw her walking to the start line and she was dancing to the music I though, ‘she’s still relaxed!’ I knew she was going to run really well.
“The 800m is one of those races that if you’re in a good position and you’re a competitive person, then anything can happen.”
O’Sullivan added that she’s been very impressed with how welcoming and accommodating Sophie’s Irish teammates have been in accepting and helping her integrate into the Irish squad.
“To be part of the Irish team out here has been fantastic. All the girls have been really welcoming to Sophie. This is her first Irish team. She only knows the girls the past couple of weeks. She’s had a fantastic time. It’s been brilliant. Hopefully there’s many more years to come.
“I feel very relieved. Every day Sophie progressed to the next race I was thinking, ‘the week is getting easier’, because you don’t want to be out here and then she’s not in the race.
“She’ll come and pick up a medal (on Sunday). It’s made the championship even more enjoyable for me. It’s made life easy for me!”