BY JJ HURLEY
BELGOOLY AC athlete Hannah Falvey's blistering performances on the indoor circuit has propelled the Blarney resident to national success.
Over the past few months, the gifted sprinter hit a rich vein of form on the indoor circuit, claiming a series of podium finishes and posting several impressive times.
One of those performances had Hannah setting a new Munster record at the U17 200m indoor sprint championships, with the previous record set by Bandon AC athlete Joan Healy in 2008.
After recording a new record, Hannah said, ‘I was so happy, and I didn't realise I had broken it until after, as I was just going for a PB.’
Debuting on the athletic scene at just eight years old, Hannah has amassed an impressive list of national titles. She was the Munster and national combined event champion for three years at U13, U14 and U15 and was the sprint champion at her age group in the years leading up to 2020.
At the start of March 2020, running in the 4J Studios Scottish Athletics National Indoor Championships, the Belgooly athlete – competing in the U15 age group – set two new championship records at 60m and 200m events, before Covid interrupted what looked like a promising season
Returning to the track in 2021, Hannah suffered a significant setback when she incurred a hamstring injury that side-lined her for eight weeks.
However, her determination to overcome the injury saw her return to competition, as she picked up a silver in the 100m and bronze in the high jump and hurdles at the Munster outdoor championships, despite the lack of training.
For Hannah to achieve her level of success, sacrifices are required.
‘Sometimes I have to miss out on going to discos as a competition would be on the same weekend, but my friends are very understanding,' she said.
While talent may often take an athlete to the starter's blocks, it may not take them over the line. For Hannah, who trains three days a week, she's grateful to Belgooly AC’s coaching pairing of Colette Kelly and Eugene McVeigh.
Like all athletes, Hannah dreams of lining up on the start line of some future Olympics in the country's green singlet, but she has already made a winning debut in her country's colours.
Last December, she played her part in an Irish U16 girls’ team placing second in an international combined events competition in Glasgow at the Emirates Arena, as she recorded two personal PBs in the long jump and shot put.
Since returning from international duty, Hannah has continued to burn up the track.
Stepping outside her comfort zone, the Belgooly athlete ran to a superb silver medal in the 200m at the National Junior U20 and U23 Championships in February, beaten by the slimmest margins by Leevale runner, Fatima Amusa.
Returning to her age category, Hannah outclassed her field to post 24.8 in the indoor national final of the 200m, a time which qualifies her for the European Youth Olympic Festival, which will take place in Slovakia at the end of July.
With the outdoor track set to get underway, Hannah will be confident of transferring her indoor form as she continues to impress in the Belgooly AC colours.