Joan Healy targets world standard and national record
JOAN Healy must run a career personal best – and equal or better the national record – at the National Indoor Championships this weekend if she wants to represent Ireland at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in early March.
Joan (25) has been in sensational form in the women’s 60m this year, already bettering her personal best (PB) three times, the latest at the Ifam indoor meet in Ghent, Belgium last weekend.
She ran 7.33, shaving one hundredth of a second off her previous PB – but she knows she needs to run 7.30 – also the national record – this weekend to qualify for the worlds and join her younger sister Phil who will compete in the 400m this week and at the worlds.
‘The times keep coming down each week but I definitely think I’m capable of shaving a few more hundredths and maybe get down under 7.30,’ Joan said.
‘It’s all about executing the race correctly which can be hard at times under pressure but I feel it’s coming together nicely.
‘My main focus is winning this weekend. The times will come.
‘The nationals are also the deadline for qualifying for the world championships.
‘If it happens, it happens but I’ve had a great season so far, but of course qualifying would be the cherry on top.’
Joan will be up against Amy Foster, Ciara Neville and Molly Scott so this is a quality 60m field which could help the Ballineen woman improve her PB again and hit the qualifying standard.
She feels she’s in the best shape she has ever been in, thanks to an injury-free winter’s training, and she showed that form in Ghent last weekend.
‘It was a phenomenal experience,’ she said.
‘I was quite nervous before the heat because I just wanted to qualify for the final. I was drawn in the same heat as Dafne Schippers, the world champion, and I was also in the lane next to her so I knew I’d get a good run.
‘I reacted really well out of the blocks and was leading to 40 metres which I couldn’t believe. For the last 20 metres it was all about keeping my composure and working hard to the line. I knew the run was fast so I was delighted to see another PB and 7.33 show up on the clock.’
In the final, Joan again clocked 7.33, equalling her new PB to finish fifth and this was despite a poor start so she feels there’s more to come.
‘If I had a better start I think I would have definitely hit 7.30, if not crept under it,’ she said.
‘It’s really difficult to explain how hard it is to shave off those hundredths each week. Three hundredths (0.03) seems really small and it is but at the same time it might as well be a full second.
‘Tiny margins, like a good reaction out of the blocks or the way you dip at the finish, might mean hundredths, but each week I’m putting better races together so it’s achievable.’
All her attention now switches to the national indoors this Saturday and Sunday.