'She'd kill me!' Sonia O'Sullivan has no doubt who'd win a race between her and Sophie

Sixteen-year-old Sophie won 800m silver for Ireland at the European U18s earlier this month.

Sophie and Sonia:
Sophie and Sonia: "Around 2012 or 2013 was my last chance to beat her."
Image: Sasa Pahic Szabo/INPHO

SONIA O’SULLIVAN KNOWS that there would only be one winner in a race between her and her daughter Sophie.

Sophie showed that the middle-distance genes definitely run in the family as she made her international debut for Ireland at the European U18 Championships in Hungary earlier this month.

The 16-year-old turned in a brilliant performance to win 800m silver in Gyor – with Sonia on hand to make the medal presentation herself.

“She’d kill me [over 5k],” Sonia told The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 on Tuesday.

“I think the last time I finished ahead of her was in the Malahide Parkrun in about 2013 or 2014, a good few years ago.

We had one 1500m race, around 2012 or 2013, and that was my last chance to beat her. I was just sneaking up, about to get her, and she looked over her shoulder and she saw me and she was able to put in that last little bit. That was the end.

Like Sonia, Sophie also holds dual Irish and Australian citizenship which allows her to represent either country.

But under the new IAAF eligibility rules agreed last week, athletes cannot transfer allegiance until they are aged 20, and those who do wish to transfer must now observe a three-year waiting period.

“She’s Irish, she can run for Australia, but she’d have to not run for Ireland for three years,” Sonia said. “That’s the same for anybody who is changing countries.

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“It’s one step at a time. We don’t look at it as a big deal or a big decision. The thing is, what’s the next event? What’s the next event that you can do and that you’d like to do?”

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Niall Kelly

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