Rhasidat Adeleke eases back into competitive action in Louisville

Irish sprinter competes 4x400m relay event indoors at the University of Kentucky

It’s a long way from Louisville to Paris but Rhasidat Adeleke has got her Olympic season up and running, part of an elite 4x400 metre relay quartet competing indoors at the University of Kentucky.

In her first competitive appearance since the World Championships in Budapest last August, where she finished fourth in the 400m, Adeleke ran the second leg with a split of 51.74 seconds, plenty good for now.

Britain’s former world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, also now training at the University of Texas under Adeleke’s coach Edrick Floréal, ran the first leg in 53.57, with Julian Alfred, the St Lucian sprinter who was also fourth in the 200m in Budapest, clocking 52.47 in the third leg. Lanae-Tava Thomas pulled up in the last leg which meant they didn’t actually finish, still it’s evidence too that Adeleke is running injury free, and she will next target some individual races in the coming weeks.

It’s still unclear whether Adeleke will run the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow on the first weekend in March, which would mean coming to Europe and adjusting to the different time zone. Her indoor best from last year of 50.33 would have placed second at the 2022 World Indoors, although it’s more likely she will remain at her Texas training base.


Louisville also marked her first indoor race as a professional, after signing with Nike last summer. That meant she is no longer eligible for NCAA competitions, although she is still completing her final year of study at Texas. The Dublin sprinter has also indicated she’s likely to run the European Championships this summer, which take place in Rome in June, 50 days before the Olympics begin in Paris.

Back at home Shane Healy stole the show at the National Masters Indoor Championships in Athlone, running a world 800m indoor best in the M55 (over 55 years) to add to his 3,000m best set last weekend.

The 1996 Olympian clocked 2:02.46, taking over three seconds off the previous M55 mark. Last week in Dublin, Healy ran 8:47.71, breaking the M55 3,000m mark of 8:58.7 which had stood Germany’s Gunther Hasselmann for 44 years. Healy will next target the indoor 5,000m mark.

In one of the most astonishing world record improvements on the road, Kenya’s Agnes Ngetich ran 28:46 for 10km in Valencia, smashing by 28 seconds the previous mark set by Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw in Castellon two years ago.

The first sub-29 minute run by a woman, Ngetich passed halfway in 14:13, equalling the world best for that distance. Her 28:46 also notably faster than the track 10,000m world record of 29:01.03 held by Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey. The men’s race was won by Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo in 26:48, Ireland’s Efrem Gidey clocking 27:56.

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Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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