Rhasidat Adeleke leads Ireland’s largest ever World Athletics Championships team

Some 23 athletes will represent the country in Budapest, beginning on August 19th

Sprinkled with potential finalists and perhaps one or two medal hopes, a team of 23 athletes will represent Ireland at the 19th edition of the World Athletics Championships, beginning on Saturday, August 19th at the new purpose-built stadium in Budapest.

It is the largest ever Irish representation, 40 years after Eamonn Coghlan struck gold over the 5,000 metres at the inaugural championships in Helsinki in 1983.

Included are 16 individual entries plus two relays – the women’s 4x400m and the mixed 4x400m – with Rhasidat Adeleke and Ciara Mageean leading the way in terms of potential finalists and medal hopes, both setting national records already this season.

Still only 20, Adeleke is ranked fourth in the world over 400m this season, thanks to her 49.20 clocked in June, while Mageean has been mixing it with the best 1,500m runners again this season, also breaking Sonia O’Sullivan’s long standing national mile record last month, running 4.14.58.


There’s a full Irish quota in that women’s 1,500m, Sarah Healy and Sophie O’Sullivan also qualifying, the 21-year-old O’Sullivan set to make her World Championship debut 30 years after her mother Sonia won silver in the same event in Stuttgart in 1993.

Around 2,000 athletes from 200 countries are set to compete, and there is the potential for three more Irish athletes to get a call up, Nick Griggs (1,500m), Michelle Finn (3,000m steeplechase) and Kate O’Connor (Heptathlon) sitting just outside quota qualification positions, with the potential to move into selection spots.

Ireland’s last three medals at this level came in the race walks, Gillian O’Sullivan (silver in 2003), Oliver Loughnane (gold in 2009) and Rob Heffernan (gold in 2013), with David Kenny (20km walk) and Brendan Boyce (35km walk), both coached by Heffernan, headed for Budapest.

Mark English returns to the 800m, joined by the in-form and newly crowned national champion John Fitzsimons, while Thomas Barr also returns to the 400m hurdles.

Sarah Lavin will be eying a place in the 100m hurdles final, plus Derval O’Rourke’s Irish record of 12.65 seconds, Andrew Coscoran (1,500m) and Brian Fay (5,000m) also in-form for a final spot, breaking Irish records this summer – Coscoran getting down to 3:30.42, Fay running 13:01.40. In the field, Eric Favors also returns in the shot put.

Phil Healy, who have been in contention for a relay spot, announced she is ending her season earlier than planned to help her body to recover for next year’s Paris Olympics, following a recent diagnosis of an Autoimmune Disease.

Griggs, meanwhile, will also lead the medal charge for Ireland at European Athletics Under 20 Championships which get under way in Jerusalem on Monday, the team of 32 athletes also featuring relay squads in the men’s 4x100m, men’s 4x400m, and women’s 4x400m. Elizabeth Ndudi goes into the championships as Ireland’s top ranked woman athlete having recently bettered her own U20 Long Jump record with a 6.44m leap in Mannheim.

Virgin Media will broadcast live coverage of the World Athletics Championships, returning the event to Irish terrestrial television for the first time since 2003.

Ireland team, World Athletics Championships, Budapest, August 19th-27th


John Fitzsimons, Mark English (800m), Andrew Coscoran, Luke McCann (1,500m), Brian Fay (5,000m), Thomas Barr (400m Hurdles), David Kenny (20km Walk), Brendan Boyce (35km Walk), Eric Favors (Shot Put), Chris O’Donnell (Mixed 4x400m), Jack Raftery (Mixed 4x400m), Callum Baird (Mixed 4x400m)


Rhasidat Adeleke (400m, 4x400m), Sharlene Mawdsley (400m, Mixed 4x400m, 4x400m), Louise Shanahan (800m), Ciara Mageean, Sophie O’Sullivan, Sarah Healy (1,500m), Sarah Lavin (100m Hurdles), Sophie Becker, Roisin Harrison (Mixed 4x400m, 4x400m), Cliodhna Manning, Kelly McGrory (4x400m)

* Provisionally selected should they be reallocated a quota place by World Athletics.

Kate O’Connor (Heptathlon)

Nick Griggs (1,500m)

Michelle Finn (3,000mSC)

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics