BALLINEEN sprinter Phil Healy will represent Ireland in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays at the 2016 European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam early next month, from July 6th-10th.
Following on from racing with the Irish women’s relay team on Saturday, UCC third-year student Healy, better known for her 100m and 200m exploits, competed in the 400m at the Brussels Grand Prix on Sunday, finishing second in her second fastest-ever time of 53.8 seconds.
The Bandon AC star received a boost recently when New Balance came on board as a sponsor, which she says is ‘a huge help’, and this good news comes after Kinetica also gave their backing to the talented local athlete.
This weekend at the national senior championships, Healy will run in the 400m for only the fifth time ever, as she continues to take the step-up in distance in her stride. Her 400m PB is 53.58, from Oordegem in Belgium at the start of June.
‘I’ve only ran four 400s this year so far so I am still learning the event. It’s different to 100m and 200s races as they are flat-out runs, but with 400, that’s not possible as the lactic acid monster hits, so it’s all about getting the right pacing and that’s something I can take into next year,’ Healy explained.
‘The European qualifying standard is 53.40. If I get it, it will be a bonus. I’ll be up against reigning 400m indoor and outdoor national champion Sinead Denny, who has been doing 400m all the way up through the years. She won in Brussels last weekend with 54.45 so there’s not much between us.’
Phil’s older sister Joan, who will compete in the senior women’s 100m race, is one of several Bandon AC athletes who will compete at the nationals this weekend. Others include Laura McSweeney (women’s shot putt), Joey Henchy (men’s 100m), Scott (men’s 400m), Patrick McSweeney (56lb distance, 56lb distance and shot putt), Ronan Duggan (800m), Shane Howard (long jump) and Promise Okafor (triple jump).