Echo Sport Awards 2018: Rhasidat caps a phenomenal year

TALLAGHT Athletic Club’s Rhasidat Adeleke was crowned The Echo 2018 Sports Star of the Year following a phenomenal season that has seen her continue her rise on the international stage.

At just 15 years, the 200m runner not only won gold at the European Under 18 Championships in Hungary, but played a huge part in helping the Ireland 4x100m team take silver in the World Under 20 Championships in Finland just a week later.

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Tallaght Athletic Club's Rhasidat Adeleke receives 'The Echo Sports Star of the Year' Award from Thos McDermot, SDCSP, Mayor Mark Ward, Sheila Baird, Green Isle and David Kennedy, The Echo.

They were the highlights in a season that was capped last Thursday night when she scooped the top accolade at The Echo Amateur Sports Awards in the Green Isle Hotel.

Speaking about her unforgettable year, Rhasidat told The Echo: “I wasn’t really expecting any of it, honestly and I think that’s what made the experience even more valuable to me, that it wasn’t expected, so, yeah, I was really happy.

“The highlight was definitely breaking the Irish Under 20 200m record because that gave me confidence going through the season and also winning European Youth Championship 200m. They  were definitely the highlights of my season.”

Rhasidat was a two-time winner of ‘The Echo Sports Star of the Month’ Awards this year, her first coming in January after she she set a new National Junior and Youth 200m Sprint record.

She followed that with a treble in the Dublin Indoor Championships and a 100 and 200m double at the Leinster Schools T&F Championships where she broke the 40-year 200m Irish record held by Michelle Walsh.

She later teamed up with Ciara Neville, Gina Akpe–Moses and Molly Scott to set a new National Under 20 4x100m relay record in Belgium.

It was a blistering start to the new year, but it was in July when she really hit the headlines when she won gold in the European Under 18 Women’s 200m in Hungary before flying out to Finland where she helped the Ireland Womens’ 4x100m Relay team to silver in the World Under 20 Championships.

In the former, the Tallaght Athletic Club jewel produced a stunning performance that saw her clock a new personal best time of 23.52 seconds on her way to the top of the podium.

And just a week later she played a huge part in propelling the Ireland relay team to the World Under 20 Final, unfortunately straining her hamstring in the course of that semi final, but still managing to courageously make a crucial baton change that kept the team on course for the podium.

Looking ahead to 2019, the now 16-year-old athlete said: “I’m hoping to compete at the European Youth Olympic Festival and hopefully medal and in the European Under 20s as well.”

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