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Women in Sport

26th Aug 2023

“I’m just so happy to be on this team” – Scenes as Irish relay team qualify for World final

Niall McIntyre

The Irish women’s 4x400m relay team have qualified for Sunday’s World Championship final.

The odds were stacked against the team, who went to the line without their star performer Rhasidat Adeleke, but they upset the odds after a brilliant anchor-leg by Sharlene Mawdsley.

The door was opened for the Irish team after the US messed up a baton-change and were eventually disqualified.

And with Mawdsley steaming around the track with an anchor leg of 50.01 – the fastest in the race – Ireland qualified for Sunday’s final as one of the fastest losers.

Sophie Becker had led the team with a solid first leg before Roisin Harrisson and Kelly McGrory, a late replacement for the fatigued Adeleke, kept Ireland in contention.

Mawdsley, who has already ran the mixed relay and qualified for the 400m individual semi-finals, took it from there with a barnstorming finish. And with the pre-race favourites the US ruled out of the final, the competition has been blown wide open.

“I am speechless,” said Wexford athlete Becker.

“The time is so close to a national record. We were hoping for a low 3.27 so to take a second off that, nearly more, I’m so proud of these three girls here and Niamh our sub.

“Anything can happen now. The USA are out. We’re going to get back and recover, have some chicken and rice, and we’re going to give it our all for Ireland tomorrow.”

Adeleke’s over-joyed replacement McGrory said she was ‘so happy to be on this team.’

“The Hungarians were in our heat but the to be honest the Irish gave them a good run for their money. We had such a nice cheer there. It was like an outer-body experience and when I saw Sharlene crossing the line, I just thought this was phenomenal. I’m just so happy to be on this team and I’m so proud of all the girls – it was amazing.”

“We’ve qualified for another world final,” concluded Mawdsley, “this is insane.”