PHIL Healy is a West Cork treasure.
She’s the current queen of Irish sprinting and she showed why again at the Irish Life Health National Indoor Athletics Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown, Dublin last Saturday.
The Bandon AC sprint star was the big favourite to defend her women’s 200m title – and she backed up the hype with another superb performance.
Not only did Phil win gold in the 200m, but she did it in style, breaking the championship record. The Ballineen bullet, in lane six, used the first bend to set up a 23.16, which smashed the previous record of 23.27 held by Kelly Proper. Phil had nearly a full second to spare over Rhasidat Adeleke (Tallaght) who came second in 24.08.
Her 23.16 was also just outside the national indoor record of 23.10 that she set recently in Athlone, too. That new Irish record of 23.10 is still the fastest indoor 200m time in Europe this year so far, and by some distance.
Phil has now won an incredible six gold, one silver and one bronze at the senior national indoors since 2014, as she confirms her listing as one of the star attractions of Irish athletics.
Her latest national title also boosts her ranking points as she chases down a place at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. There are two ways to qualify – either Phil runs the 200m qualifying time of 22.80 or she finishes inside the top 56 in the rankings. Currently, she is inside the top 30, and this is before her ranking points from last weekend are added on, and on course to book her ticket to the Olympics.
It's onwards now to the outdoor season as Phil continues building for what should be the biggest summer of her life.