Ireland are ‘shooting for a medal’, says Nadia Power

It’s close to a year and a half since Power, 24, represented her country, competing over 800m at the Tokyo Olympic
Ireland are ‘shooting for a medal’, says Nadia Power

FINISH WITH A FLOURISH: Nadia Power is keen to finish off an injury disrupted 2022 'on a high'. Pic: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

“It’s been a long year,” says Nadia Power, capturing the hurt and heartbreak of chronic injury – a tear in her plantar tendon that is now, hopefully, disappearing in the rear-view mirror. “I’m excited to just get back in an Irish vest and finish it off on a high.” 

It’s close to a year and a half since Power, 24, represented her country, competing over 800m at the Tokyo Olympics. But on Sunday in Piemonte, Italy, she will anchor the Irish mixed relay team at the European Cross Country. With a team boasting Olympian Andrew Coscoran, Luke McCann and Georgie Hartigan, they hold strong claims. “We’re definitely shooting for a medal,” she says.

Power has learned a lot about herself this past year, and the sport. She’d had her share of injuries before, but never this bad – the on-off, nagging nature of it leaving her deeply frustrated. The issue could be traced back to December 2021. A bout of Covid-19 forced Power to take a month off, and upon her return the detraining effect led to a plantar tear, which she ran through during a mediocre indoor season. She soon had to face the music and take three months off, getting a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to accelerate healing. Power got back running in the summer, but was not herself, her 800m best of 2:04.94 a whopping four seconds shy of her PB.

“My body just wasn’t ready, and my foot wasn’t ready. I had to take a month off and just rebuild but thankfully I’m in a pretty good place now.” 

She’s also in a new place – London. For years, Power was based at home in Dublin while attending DCU, but with her marketing degree finished up earlier this year she began scouting professional groups elsewhere in a bid to reach the next level.

“I was frustrated with my indoor season. In hindsight I should have realised it was because I was very injured, but athletes just want to move on and on. I always knew I’d need to push myself a little out of my comfort zone in terms of living at home. It felt like the right time (to go) and I had itchy feet after Covid and wanted to try a new setup.” 

Her agent, Nic Bideau, linked her up with Matt Yates, a former European indoor 1500m champion who guides a cluster of adidas-sponsored athletes in London. For Power, it looked the perfect fit. “I’m not someone who could move to the mountains and run and nap all day. London is a great option; I knew I’d be enjoying life outside of (training).” 

Her friends and boyfriend are regular visitors, and Power secured part-time work with a sports entertainment company, hastaworld, who have been “really great” at accommodating her needs. Her training in London is more speed-based than she was used to, with Power training alongside elite British athletes like Charlie Grice and Jamie Webb.

She returned to action at the Italian Cross Country Championships in November, finishing third in a 2000m event on the same course that will be used this weekend. “I definitely learned a few things. It’s firm but with super steep hills, some very steep downhills and tight turns. It’s a technical course, for sure. I’m excited to use that experience.” 

With an abundance of caution, and sense, she’s been “far less aggressive” in her training this winter, running less mileage but doing more cross-training. “It’s been incredibly consistent in terms of whatever I set out to do, I’ve been able to do. It’s working and everything has been getting better and better.” 

For so much of this year, being back in an Irish vest this side of Christmas looked a remote possibility. She knows the anchor leg will bring pressure, but after all she’s been through, that’s a privilege she’ll gladly embrace. As she puts it: “I’m raring to go.”

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