Team Ireland’s Molly Mayne doubled her medal tally today when she won a bronze medal in the Girl’s 100m Breaststroke at the Summer European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Baku. This was added to the bronze she won in the Girl’s 200m Breaststroke earlier this week. This brings the Irish medal tally to four with the medal ceremony for Rhasidat Adeleke’s 200m gold medal also taking place on this penultimate day of action at the EYOF.
Mayne qualified for the Final as the fourth fastest swimmer in the semi-finals, but was determined to step onto the podium, knowing where she would make her improvements. She immediately went into the third spot, and held that position until she tipped the wall, securing her second medal of the Games.
Swimming the 100m in a personal best time of 1.09.59, a delighted Mayne said, “it was really good. I wasn’t really expecting a 1.09, I was expecting a 1.10.0 or 1.09 (high). It was just amazing. I felt really fresh in the water I think, and I just felt so good. In warm up I felt a lot fresher because obviously I only raced one race today, whereas yesterday I had two. But I just felt way more powerful in my stroke and my stroke rates were high. I spent a little more time focusing on my stroke rate and keeping it high.”
Coming to Baku Mayne was focusing on executing her best race, medals were a bonus, “It feels amazing – I wasn’t expecting it at all!! I came here just wanting PBs just racing my best, and I came home with two medals – it feels so good.”
In the Boy’s Medley Relay Team, Team Ireland stormed home with a win in their heat and moving into the tomorrow’s final as the second fastest qualifier with a time of 1.56.69. The quartet of Israel Olatunde (100m), Charles Okafor (200m), Diarmuid O’Connor (300m) and Robert McDonnell (400m) took the lead early, with McDonnell crossing the line ahead of a fast closing Hungary in the closing metres.
“Before the race we decided to give our all and have fun, that’s what it’s all about,” Olatunde said after the race, “We all gave it our all, and we won the heat and are into the final.” A confident McDonnell raced the last leg said, “I saw Israel coming out of the blocks first, and I always knew we would come first.”
In the 3000m Michael Morgan set a new PB finishing with a time of 8.48.41. He started the race ranked ninth and moved up to finish hard and secure sixth place on the line. Speaking after the race the Sligo racer said, “At the start the pace was right in my comfort zone, where I like it to be. After 700m I decided to take a gamble and try and keep the pace going. I wanted to run a big PB if nothing else. It probably took a lot out of me, but I’m happy enough with the race. This is all a learning experience, I’ve so much more to give than that. When the Israeli guy went to the front, he probably ran a 65 second lap. My mind wanted to go with it, but my legs wouldn’t take me with it. I gave it everything anyway.”
Emily MacHugh finished 12th in the Girl’s 5km Race Walk, in a time of 26.26.05, “I trained very hard and I came out here and gave it my all. Unfortunately, today that wasn’t my best day, I gave it the best I could for the circumstances I was in and hopefully I’ll come back stronger next year.”
Athletics is the only sport featuring on tomorrow’s schedule, with John Fanning racing in the 2000m Steeplechase, Ava O’Connor in the 1500m and Aoife O’Sullivan jumps in the High Jump Finals, in which she qualified earlier this week clearing 1.75m.
The EYOF is a European event for athletes aged 14-18 that runs every two years, and Team Ireland is represented by thirty-two athletes across five sports. Baku is hosting the 2019 edition which runs from the 21 – 27 July.
The daily schedule of Team Ireland in Baku can be found HERE
Molly Mayne 100 Breaststroke 3rd – Bronze Medal (1.09.59)
Michael Morgan 3000m 6th (PB 8.48.41)
Emily MacHugh Race Walk 12th (26.26.05)
Boy’s Medley Relay – Israel Olatunde (100m), Charles Okafor (200m), Diarmuid O’Connor (300m), Robert McDonnell (400m) 1st in Heat (1.56.69)