There was widespread European success at the AIT Grand Prix in Athlone on Wednesday (12) evening and the programme was highlighted by two well-received Irish victories on the track.
Not only did Phil Healy win the rarely-run indoor 200m in 23.10, her time also surpassed Ciara Sheehy’s long-standing national record by seven-hundredths.
“It’s been a really good winter,” she told the Irish Times in the glow of her victory. “Last year I had a bit of a hiccup along the way, breaking my foot, and found it very hard to come back and get the consistency. I love a home crowd too, and to have an international race like this on our doorstep is super.”
Healy’s time was the third fastest of her career, surpassed only by an early season 23.04 in Athlone last season and her Irish outdoor record of 22.99 which was set in Cork just before the 2018 European Championships in Berlin.
— Phil Healy (@philhealy2) February 12, 2020
The second Irish win on the Sportflex Super X track installed by European Athletics Green Inspiration Partner Mondo came from European indoor bronze medallist Ciara Mageean in the 3000m. Fresh from breaking the national indoor 1500m record in Boston, Mageean kicked to victory over twice the distance in 8:48.27 to shave seven seconds off her lifetime best.
As former European indoor champion Asha Philip won the 60m in 7.23, the rising fortunes of Irish sprinting on the women’s side was also showcased. Ciara Neville and Joan Healy - the sister of Phil - were second (7.33) and third (7.34) respectively with European U18 200m champion Rhasidat Adeleke fourth in 7.39 after running a 7.35 PB in the heats.
One of the highlights from a European standpoint was the men’s 400m. Tony van Diepen from the Netherlands handed three-time world indoor champion Pavel Maslak from the Czech Republic a rare defeat on the boards, winning in a European lead of 46.17 to Maslak’s 46.28 - his first indoor race of the season.
European U18 and U20 pole vault champion Pal Haugen Lillefosse from Norway defeated the seniors with a 5.60m clearance, Poland’s European U23 800m champion Mateusz Borkowski stepped down in distance to win the 600m in 1:17.40 and Brits Andrew Robertson and Ojie Edoburun took a one-two in the men’s 60m - 6.62 to 6.64.
Full results here.