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Irish 4x400m mixed relay team set new national record to book place in Olympic final

Cillin Greene, Phil Healy, Sophie Becker and Chris O’Donnell set a new national record of 3:12.18.

Sophie Becker and Phil Healy watch on anxiously before Ireland's place in the Olympic 4x400m mixed relay final was confirmed.
Sophie Becker and Phil Healy watch on anxiously before Ireland's place in the Olympic 4x400m mixed relay final was confirmed.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND’S FAB FOUR will have a shot at Olympic glory on Saturday afternoon after they booked their place in the 4×400 mixed relay final.

Cillin Greene, Phil Healy, Sophie Becker and Chris O’Donnell set a new national record of 3:12.18 with a sensational performance in the first heat in Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.

O’Donnell’s storming anchor leg saw Ireland cross the line in fourth place and seemingly facing an anxious wait, with only the top three in each heat plus the two next-best times qualifying for the final.

But word quickly filtered through that the Dominican Republic and the USA had both been disqualified for infractions, moving Ireland up to second place behind Belgium and automatic qualification.

Although both teams were later reinstated on appeal and will take their place in the final, Ireland’s time was still good enough to see them through as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers, edging out Germany for the final spot by six-hundredths of a second.

The Olympic final takes place at 1.35pm Irish time on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m really happy,” Healy told RTÉ Sport afterwards. “This is the Olympic Games and to qualify for a final is unbelievable.

“We shattered the national record that we ran in order to qualify for here. We took four seconds off it. That is just unbelievable.

“There is so much more in this team. We knew we were in great condition coming into it. Cillin gave me the lead-off, maybe I should have pushed down the back straight a little bit more, but I’m buzzing as much as the team are to be in an Olympic final.”

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“We came in here hoping to run 3:14,” Becker said. “We shattered that. Delighted.

She added: “We’re in training camp together, we saw what shape we’re in, I’ve no doubt that all four of us would PB individually if we were racing tonight.

“It came together and knocked it out of the bag. I’m just so happy with us all.”

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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