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‘I just want to hug him’ – Ireland’s speed king Israel Olatunde owes it all to family

Mum tells of her joy as Israel Olatunde races into Ireland’s 100m record books

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Israel Olatunde celebrates after breaking the Irish 100 metres record in the European Championships final in Munich. Photo: Sportsfile

Israel Olatunde celebrates after breaking the Irish 100 metres record in the European Championships final in Munich. Photo: Sportsfile

Israel Olatunde's mum, Elizabeth, at her home in Dundalk, Co Louth. Photo: Arthur Carron

Israel Olatunde's mum, Elizabeth, at her home in Dundalk, Co Louth. Photo: Arthur Carron

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Israel Olatunde celebrates after breaking the Irish 100 metres record in the European Championships final in Munich. Photo: Sportsfile

He is Ireland’s fastest man, and at just 20 years of age has the world at his feet. But before his first European Championship race, in Munich on Tuesday, a worried Israel Olatunde rang his mum, Elizabeth, for a much-needed pep talk.

He didn’t think he could do it, he told her. The people up against him in the 100 metres semi-final were “giants – one of them was an Olympic champion”.


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