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Ireland Women's 4x200m team take second with stunning national record in World Relays final

And having qualified for the Olympics yesterday, Ireland’s mixed 4x400m team finished seventh in their final.

Updated Sun 7:13 PM

IRELAND’S WOMEN’S 4X200M relay team secured a stunning second-place finish and set a national record in this evening’s final at World Relays in Silesia, Poland.

The foursome of Aoife Lynch, Kate Doherty, Sarah Quinn and Sophie Becker clocked a time of 1:35.93 to secure Ireland’s highest World Relay Championships finish in history.

Ireland crossed the line behind Poland, and ahead of Ecuador, after a scintillating display:

Screenshot 2021-05-02 at 19.05.38 Source: World Athletics.

Screenshot 2021-05-02 at 19.06.17 Source: World Athletics.

Running from the favourable lane four, Lynch stormed out of the blocks, finding Doherty around the bend, who put down a solid second leg run. Quinn upped the ante with a sub-24 seconds 200m in the third, before Becker went even faster down the home straight with a blistering finish — though she couldn’t catch the hosts, and eventual champions.

In understandably high spirits, the team spoke to Irish athletics journalist Cathal Dennehy in the mixed zone afterwards.

“I felt at home out there, it was phenomenal. Just buzzing,” Lynch said, with Quinn adding: “We had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and we just gave it our all.”

Becker concluded: “Just delighted. I’m so happy for us.”

Beforehand — and after a dream Saturday — Ireland’s mixed 4X400M relay team finished seventh in their own final this evening.

Andrew Mellon, Phil Healy, Sharlene Mawdsley and Chris O’Donnell clocked a time of 3:20.26 in the decider, having qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games and smashed the national record in yesterday’s heat.

Starting on the inside in lane two this time, Ireland were certainly up against it.

It was Mellon — subbing in for Thomas Barr — who took them out of the blocks in tougher, cold and windy conditions, before Healy took over for the second leg, picking off opposition as Ireland tried to move up the field despite the uphill task.

Mawdsley, too, produced a solid run before O’Donnell drove them home, though the time will likely be seen as slightly disappointing because yesterday’s would have placed them second today.

Screenshot 2021-05-02 at 18.34.03 Source: World Athletics.

Italy won it out in 3:16.60, while Brazil and Dominican Republic — both in Ireland’s heat — finished second and third in 3:17.54 and 3:17.58 respectively.

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Questions have been asked about Barr’s absence today. Dennehy tweeted this evening: “Irish team management just confirmed Barr did not have any injury. Still not sure why he didn’t run.”

“Drew Harrison, mixed 4x400m team coach and personal coach to Barr, confirms the plan was always for Barr to run only the heat to help the team secure Olympic qualification,” he added. “He was on his way back to Ireland before the final.”

sppoland-chorzow-athletics-world-athletics-relays A team picture after yesterday's heat. Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Yesterday, the team secured their ticket to the Games after O’Donnell, Healy, Mawdsley and Barr produced a simply stunning performance in their heat.

The foursome smashed the national record and sealed their place on the plane to Tokyo with a time of 3:16:84 — the fourth-highest of the heats overall.

They finished third in an incredibly quick heat, and reached the final as one of the fastest losers with the top two in each qualifying automatically. Ireland finished behind Brazil [3:16.53] and Dominican Republic [3:16.67], and ahead of Britain & Northern Ireland.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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