Laadjel breaks Irish athletics’ longest-standing record
ABDEL Laadjel, a freshman at the University of Providence in Rhode Island, broke the Irish Under 20 record for the 10,000m at the Raleigh Relays Meet in North Carolina on Friday evening.
In what is one of the popular early-season track and field events that attracts a huge number of athletes from the northern States, the meet saw Donore Harriers man, Laadjel clock 29.23.92 to break the longest-standing record in Irish athletics which had been set by another Donore man, Frank Greally way back in 1970 when he crossed the line in the BLE race in Santry in 30.17.
To add to the sense of the occasion on Friday, the 18-year-old Laadjel wore his Donore singlet with the blessing of his Providence Friars coach, Ray Treacy.
Settling around 16th position after some conservative-paced opening laps, he moved up to sixth place after the halfway mark.
And while he did fall back a couple of spots to eighth in the closing stages, the former Kishoge Community College student was just over a second shy of finishing in fifth.
His time not only shattered Greally’s 1970 mark, but made him the first Irish Under 20 athlete to break the 30-minute barrier.
Greally, himself, hailed Laadjel’s achievement, saying “Congratulations to Abdel. I’m delighted to hear that it’s another Donore Harriers athlete who has knocked a good chuck off my long-standing record”.
“Best wishes to Abdel. Stride on with gratitude and purpose. I’m grateful for the years I’ve held the record and the joy that running has given me over more than half a century”
Donore club president Charlie O’Neill added: “It gives me enormous pleasure in sending many congratulations from your fellow clubmates on breaking the long-standing Irish junior 10,000m record.
“This, so soon after breaking the Irish Under 20 Indoor 5000m record in February, is remarkable and testament that your hard training regime is paying dividends. Your star is rising and will only shine brighter in the future”
Laadjel, who still has more than a year-and-a-half left in the Junior grade, saw his Donore clubmate Eric Keogh, represent Queen’s University North Carolina, among the 52 athletes on the start-line.