Cancelling holiday plans pays off for Rhasidat Adeleke as she makes 400m final

Today’s European Championship 400m semi-final was her 48th race of the season and her third-place finish in a time of 51.08 was more than enough to progress her through to tomorrow’s final
Cancelling holiday plans pays off for Rhasidat Adeleke as she makes 400m final

QUALIFIED: Ireland's Rhasidat Adeleke during the semi-final. Pic: INPHO/Tom Maher

Rhasidat Adeleke was supposed to be on holidays in Mexico this week but there is important work to be done yet.

Today’s European Championship 400m semi-final was her 48th race of the season between indoors and out, college and international, and her third-place finish in a time of 51.08 was more than enough to progress her through to tomorrow’s final.

It’s another major marker in the 19-year old’s burgeoning career and justification for her decision to extend her campaign this far having all but checked out after the World Championships in Oregon late last month.

Adeleke made early gains on Great Britain’s Nicole Yeargin in the lane outside her, as did Dutch sensation Femke Bol on Amandine Brossier of France, but she was caught down the stretch by Belgium’s Cynthia Bolingo who had earlier been warned for a false start.

“I just wanted to make sure I got out and was somewhat in contention coming off the bend, and hold on,” she said after going through as the ‘best of the rest’ at the sun-drenched Olympiastadion at lunchtime local.

“It’s quite a quick turnaround compared to Worlds, so I wanted to try conserve a lot of energy, but I guess I thought I was comfortable in second, Then I got caught on the line, before I’m in, and hopefully more for the final.” 

Her personal best for the distance is a 50.7 run in Lubbock, Texas in May. That placed her seventh in the list of runners across today's three semi-finalists and she progressed with the seventh fastest time of the day.

“I was pretty relaxed. Initially, we didn’t really know what shape we were in. It was kind of a late decision to come here after Worlds, and such a long season. Then, like a week and a half before the Europeans, I thought ‘you know what, I might go to Europeans’.

“So I started training again and thought, yeah, let’s go and do this. And that’s the fastest time I’ve ever run in a prelim. So, for example, when I ran at Big 12 (in college) I ran, like, a second faster the next day. So I’m excited for tomorrow.” 

One of six Irish athletes named in the women’s 4x400m relay team that goes into action on Friday, her focus right now is squared on tomorrow’s final. The question is whether there is enough fuel left in the tank as she admits that she is close to spent.

“Eh, mentally a bit. After this I just can’t wait to be done. I was meant to be on holiday right now, but I cancelled everything to come to the Europeans. So I’m going to enjoy my off-season as much as I can when I’m back at school.”

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