Rhasidat Adeleke finishes fourth in world-class 200m race in LA

US star Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone took the win in brilliant style

Another fine run by Rhasidat Adeleke saw her mix it up with the best sprinters in the world, nailing fourth place over 200 metres at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix on Saturday evening.

Racing into a -0.3 headwind, Adeleke clocked 22.45 seconds, just short of her Irish record of 22.34 seconds which she ran in Florida in April of last year.

US star Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone took the win in brilliant style, running a lifetime best of 22.07, ahead of two US team-mates, Abby Steiner second in 22.32, with Brittney Brown third in 22.35.

Adeleke finished ahead of Gabby Thomas, another US star who won bronze in the event at the Tokyo Olympics and silver at last year’s World Championships.


The 21-year-old Dublin sprinter came to LA in red-hot form, just two weeks on from the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas, where she helped Ireland seal two Olympic qualifications and win bronze medals, and ran the fastest ever World relay split of 48.45 seconds for the 400m.

For Adeleke, who last month ran a wind-assisted 10.84 for the 100m, it will further reinforce her confidence for the rest of the season, over 400m, starting with next month’s European Championships in Rome.

“My goal is to go in there open-minded, don’t be scared of any big name, don’t give them too much respect,” she said beforehand. “The past couple of weeks have given me confidence that I can compete against anybody and once you have confidence, I feel like you can take anybody down.”

McLaughlin-Levrone was running only her second race of the season, the world record-shattering Olympic and 2022 World gold medallist in the 400m hurdles also moving down a distance.

It marked McLaughlin-Levrone’s second individual competition of the season, the 24-year-old from New Jersey; prior to her season opener in April, she hadn’t raced since last July’s USA Championships because of an injury, withdrawing from the World Championships in Budapest.

Her success in 2023 switching to the 400m, her 48.74 best putting her at number 10 all time, meant that was another possibility for Paris.

However, her coach Bobby Kersee confirmed this week the plan was for the 400m hurdles only for at next month’s US trials in Eugene, Oregon, this ruling out the flat one-lap double.

Kersee said McLaughlin-Levrone is going back to the hurdles this summer “because that’s her main event. That’s what we want to defend our Olympic championship in….”

Kersee added: “I think Sydney’s love is the 400m hurdles, and so that’s the number one event. My job is to make sure that she gets ready for the one that she wants to do the most.”

Earlier on Saturday, Sharlene Mawdsley joined Adeleke with an automatic qualifying time for the 400m, the Tipperary athlete improving her best from 51.09 to 50.72 when winning at the Memoriał Janusza Kusocińskiego meeting in Chorzow, Poland.

Like Adeleke, Mawdsley has already shown superb form in helping those relay qualifications in the Bahamas earlier this month, her 50.72 well inside the 50.95 automatic mark for Paris.

It also moves Mawdsley to number two on the Irish all-time list behind Adeleke, ahead of former Irish record holder Joanne Cuddihy, previously the only other Irish woman to have run under 51 seconds, with her previous Irish record of 50.73 seconds; Adeleke’s current record is 49.20 set last June.

At the same meeting in Chorzow, Nick Griggs improved his 1,500m best to 3:35.90, the still 19-year-old from Tyrone dipping under 3:36 for the first time, and bettering the 3:36.09 he clocked in Nice last July.

It’s also an automatic qualifying time for next month’s European Athletics Championships in Rome, and adds important ranking points as he looks to seal Olympic qualification for that event via that process.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

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