A little frustration can be great fuel for the fire, as Molly Scott learned yesterday in Abbotstown, the 22-year-old sprinter from Carlow exploited a wacky situation to great effect and won the national title 60m in 7.19 – the fastest ever by an Irishwoman.
It broke the national record of 7.21 set earlier this month by Rhasidat Adeleke, who had lowered the record of 7.23 Scott had set days earlier. Heading into yesterday’s nationals, Scott was always going to be on her own in the hunt for gold, especially after a blistering 7.24 to win her heat. But a false start by one of her rivals in the final did not lead to a recall, with Scott coming from behind to win.
A frustrated Scott quickly had a chat with officials, who explained that the race would have to be restarted an hour later. If there was lingering fatigue, she certainly didn’t show it. With a lightning start, a perfect recovery and a dazzling finish, she achieved one of the best performances in the history of the event.
“I’m absolutely thrilled about this,” Scott said. “I was really upset after that first final and I put all that anger and aggression into that race. There was no way I wasn’t enjoying it to the fullest.” There was another outstanding race in the men’s 60m, with Israel Olatunde showing why he could be the next big star in Irish athletics.It took just 6.62 seconds for the 19-year-old UCD student to win his first national title indoors, also setting the qualifying time (6.63) for next month’s World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, just 0.01 shy of Paul Hession’s Irish record, set 15 years ago , and brought Olatunde home well away from Joseph Ojewumi (6.72).
Phil Healy was class and power personified as she dominated the women’s 400m, with the Bandon AC athlete winning her seventh national indoor title in a championship record 51.75, her 15th overall. Fellow Olympian Sophie Becker trailed her home in 52.64, a world indoor qualifier.
“I’m really, really happy about that,” Healy said. “I got the most out of lane four, we were trying different things, pushing the bell harder than usual. Everything will be paid (at larger events). ”
Healy will then race at the World Indoor Tour gold meeting in Madrid on Wednesday before turning his sights to the World Indoors in Belgrade.
“You learn a lot from major championships, and last year I reached the European final and I’m looking forward to competing at the World Championships this year,” she said. “The standard is rising all the time, so you just need to improve your game.” Cillin Greene was a commanding winner in the men’s 400 in 46.64, with Cathal Crosbie following at home and former champion Brian Gregan returning from injury to claim bronze in 47.85.
Luke McCann turned the men’s 1500m into a time trial, with the UCD student running alone from the start and clocking 3:45.14, with Louis O’Loughlin taking silver in 3:54.74. Mark English also dominated the men’s 800m, using his wide range of speeds to good effect to claim his eighth Irish senior indoor title in 1:49.39.
Louise Shanahan used a vicious kick to win the women’s 800m, clocking 2:06.72 ahead of Claire Mooney. Dundrum South Dublin’s Georgie Hartigan won a thrilling duel with Nadia Power in the women’s 1500m, 4:23.26 to 4:23.62.
In the field events Ruby Millet of St Abban’s produced the most outstanding performance, breaking a championship record of 6.42m. Conor Callinan and Matthew Callinan Keenan shared the spoils in the men’s pole vault, both clearing 4.60m. Jai Benson of Lagan Valley was top in the men’s triple jump with 14.86m, while Michael Healy of Youghal took the men’s shot put for the distance with 8.21m.
Ava Rochford of Nenagh won gold in the women’s high jump with 1.78m, while Michaela Walsh of Swinford won the women’s shot put with 14.96m.
Tallaght’s quartet of Simon Essuman, Kieran Elliott, Eoin Doherty and Joseph Ojewumi won the men’s 4x200m in 1:29.03, while Dundrum South Dublin’s Kate Doherty, Molly Hourihan, Cara Murphy and Mollie O’Reilly won the women’s .
On Saturday, Darragh McElhinney put in an outstanding performance, clocking a final mile in 2:26 to beat junior star Nick Griggs in the men’s 3000m in 8:02.84. Sarah Lavin won the women’s 60m hurdles in 8.12 while Sharlene Mawdsley won the women’s 200m in 24.05, the men going to Robert McDonnell in 20.86.