Rhasidat Adeleke named The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the month for June

Irish sprint sensation set for World Championships later this month after stellar form in June

When she won gold in the 200m at the under-18 European Championships four years ago, at the age of just 15, we had a notion that Rhasidat Adeleke would go on to make very regular appearances in our roll of honour.

And so it has proved, the Tallaght sprinter developing in to one of our most exciting sporting talents, her form through the first six months of 2022 underlining her potential.

In the course of those six months she set Irish indoor records at 60m, 200m and 300m, and also broke the 400m outdoor mark set by Joanne Cuddihy 15 years ago.

Come June, she added another national title to her collection when she held off the challenge of Molly Scott to win the 100m at a damp and windy Morton Stadium.


By then, earlier in the month, Adeleke had become the first Irish woman to win a prestigious National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sprint title when she was part of the University of Texas relay team that triumphed in the 4x100m in Eugene, Oregon.

No Irish woman had even made an NCAA sprint final before, the achievement the latest in what is proving to be a stellar collegiate career, Adeleke is now in her second year at the University of Texas where she is under the tutelage of renowned coach Edrick Floreal.

She also collected a silver in the 4x400m, those points helping Texas finish runners-up to the University of Florida in the team competition, their best performance since 2014.

“Competing at Texas has built my mental game,” she said after her nationals win. “I came from Ireland and got so used to winning, so it was a shock to the system, but I’m making my way up and hopefully I can continue to make progress.”

Adeleke has still to confirm whether or not she will run at August’s European Championships in Munich, her focus for now on the World Championships, which start on Friday in Oregon, where she will compete in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m.

The competition in Oregon is likely to prove a little too hot for Adeleke who doesn’t turn 20 until next month, but the experience will prove invaluable as she works towards being able to compete at the very highest level. The progress she’s made thus far suggests she might well realise that ambition.

Previous Monthly Winner (the awards run from December 2021 to November 2022, inclusive):

December: Ellen Walshe (Swimming). The 20-year-old Dubliner became the first Irish woman to medal at a World Championships and the first ever, male or female, to do so in an Olympic event when she took silver in the 400m Individual Medley at the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi. Along the way, she broke five Irish records, smashing the oldest, Michelle Smith’s 1994 400m Individual Medley mark.

January: Lucy Mulhall (Rugby). The Wicklow woman captained Ireland to their first ever World Rugby Sevens Series final in Seville where they were two minutes away from beating Australia, before conceding two late tries. It was a hugely encouraging run of results by Ireland, which lifted them to fifth in the world rankings, Mulhall leading from the front and earning a place in the team of the tournament.

February: Leona Maguire (Golf). Maguire became the first Irish woman to win on the LPGA Tour when she triumphed at the Drive On Championship in Florida, a victory that sent her in to the top 20 of the world rankings for the first time. She went on to register her first top 10 finish at the US Open and almost won her second title of the season when she reached a play-off at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

March: Rachael Blackmore (Horse racing). The Champion Hurdle on Honeysuckle, followed by the Gold Cup on A Plus Tard - let’s just say, Blackmore’s trip to Cheltenham this year went rather well. In winning both races, she became the first jockey since Tony McCoy in 1997 to achieve the feat at the same meeting, making her the holder of those two crowns, as well as the Grand National, all at the same time.

April: Katie Taylor (Boxing). Our five-time Sportswoman of the Year made herself a contender for the overall award yet again after an epic fight against Amanda Serrano in front of a crowd of close to 20,000 in Madison Square Garden. The 35-year-old, now unbeaten in 21 professional fights, retained her WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO lightweight titles with a split decision victory.

May: Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke (Boxing). Following in the path of Katie Taylor, Michael Conlan and Kellie Harrington, the pair brought to five the number of Ireland’s amateur world champions when they both struck gold at the World Championships in Turkey, Broadhurst triumphing in the 60-63kg category, O’Rourke in the 70kg.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times