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‘I fell asleep’ – Rhasidat Adeleke aces her way into 400m semis at World Championships in Oregon

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Ireland's Rhasidat Adeleke in action during the women's 400 metres heats REUTERS/Lucy Nicholso

Ireland's Rhasidat Adeleke in action during the women's 400 metres heats REUTERS/Lucy Nicholso

Ireland's Rhasidat Adeleke in action during the women's 400 metres heats REUTERS/Lucy Nicholso

Rhasidat Adeleke produced another brilliant performance to advance to the 400m semi-finals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon yesterday, the 19-year-old Dubliner finishing second in her heat in 51.59. The race was won by Olympic silver medallist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic in 50.76.

I got out a little too slow and I fell asleep,” said Adeleke, who powered around the third bend to elevate herself into one of the top-three automatic qualifying positions. “I just made sure that by the 350 mark I was in contention and then I was able to shut it down a bit. I didn’t want to strain too much.”

Adeleke withdrew from the mixed relay final on Friday afternoon after feeling unwell following the heats, where she clocked a blazing 49.80 split.

“Straight after the heats, I was fine-ish, but then I got this really bad stomach pain,” she said. “It was starting to go away and then I had a whole bunch of different pains. I had a headache, I felt sick and I just didn’t feel well at all. 

“I tried my best to come back, but I felt really sick, so I took the days to rest and hope that I’d be okay when the time came for this.”

Adeleke will now have two days to rest and the Tallaght teenager will be back in action on Wednesday night for the 400m semi-finals, where she expects to get out much faster through the first half.

“I have to put in a bit more effort, especially at the end,” she said. “So it’ll be time to give it my all.”

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Sophie Becker was eliminated from the 400m after finishing fifth in her heat in 52.24, her third one-lap sprint within a 48-hour window after she ran the heats and final of the mixed relay on Friday.

“I’m a bit disappointed,” she said. “I didn’t know if I’d get through to the semi, but I wanted to set a PB and I’m in shape to set a PB. On the other hand, that’s three 52.2s I did in two days and I’m proud of toeing the line, competing, but I’d have liked a bit more today.”

Chris O’Donnell continued his fine championships by advancing to the semi-final of the men’s 400m, the Sligo athlete – who ran both rounds of the mixed 4x400m – was fourth in his heat in 46.01, going through as a non-automatic qualifier.

“To get through to the semi-final after getting into the final in the mixed relay, I’m really pleased,” he said. “The mixed relay became the priority and I put everything into it. I’ve never done anything like that in my life with two runs in one day.

“As much emotionally as physically, I put it out there for the team, so I was coming in today and however much left was in the tank, I completely emptied it today.”

Running on the outside lane, O’Donnell said he had “no choice” but to rip through the first 200m, but he held on well up the home straight to advance on time. “With the tired legs, it was a bit harder as I didn’t know how to gauge it, but I got to the home straight, it was time to empty the tank again.”

His semi-final also takes place on Wednesday. “It’s bonus territory,” he said. “It’s been a super championships for me, so I’m going to give it absolutely everything. I believe I can go much faster with two days of recovery now.”


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