AthleticsMy Sporting Highlight

Sports Review 2023: Adeleke’s phenomenal season full of promise of more to come

Dublin woman lights up collegiate season and sets seven senior Irish records in 2023 as she joins the very best women sprinters in the world

NCAA outdoor track and field championships, July 7th-10th

Standing trackside at the Mike A Myers Stadium, down in Austin, Texas, and the transformation is more like a metamorphosis.

Gone is the Rhasidat Adeleke of teenage physique and still raw potential; here instead is an athlete ready to challenge the very best women sprinters in the world.

From the moment Adeleke first strides out on her home track at the University of Texas, she looks stronger and faster and fitter, and now graceful beyond words.

For this correspondent, attending the famed Texas Relays on the first weekend of April, it’s the first time seeing the Tallaght sprinter racing in the flesh since the summer before when, while still just 19 years old, she took the Irish 400m record down to 50.33 seconds, finishing fifth at the European Championships, while running in lane one.


Here, Adeleke races five times in four different relay events, and Texas win them all – highlighted by the 4x400m, where Adeleke runs the anchor leg to the delight of her home crowd, her coach Edrick Floréal recording a split of 49.2 seconds, the fastest of the now 20-year-old’s life.

Adeleke also helps Texas to an NCAA record in the 4x100m relay, and everything about this weekend feels like a clear sign of the more astonishing things to come. Two weeks later, in her first individual 400m outdoors, Adeleke runs 49.90, the first Irish woman to break the 50-second barrier.

Then, at the climax of the long American collegiate season in early June, Adeleke again goes where no Irish athlete has gone before – the first to win an NCAA sprint title, this time running 49.20, her seventh Irish senior record of 2023.

A season never-to-be-forgotten had it ended there.

But still, Adeleke rises again to make the 400m final at the World Championship in Budapest in late August, finishing just outside the medals in fourth. Unquestionably now among the very best women sprinters in the world.