JOAN Healy crossed one more item off her bucket list last weekend.
The Bandon AC sprinter competed at the Olympic Stadium at the London Diamond League, part of the Ireland 4x100m relay team that also included her record-breaking younger sister Phil, Ciara Neville and Gina Apke-Moses.
They finished seventh in 44.23, an encouraging run-out ahead of next month’s European Athletics Championships where Joan will race in the relay team.
‘London was amazing,’ the Ballineen woman said.
‘To be invited to compete at a Diamond League is such a great opportunity, to be up against the best in the world, but to be in the Olympic Stadium in London was brilliant. Ever since the 2012 Olympics I’ve always wanted to compete there.
‘This was my second Diamond League of the season. I ran an individual 100m in the Diamond League in Lausanne so I’ve had great experience over the last month.
‘In London, we were there for a relay. We ran well, posting our third fastest time of the season so it was great exposure before the Europeans next month.’
This weekend Joan’s attention is on the national senior championships at Morton Stadium where she will race in the 100m. She still has a chance to qualify in this distance for the European championships but will need to find a new personal best.
‘I haven’t raced as much as I intended to over the summer,’ she admitted.
‘In June, I picked up a niggle in my foot which slowed down my training a little.
‘It was far from ideal, especially in the lead up to Berlin and considering I was hoping to qualify for the 100m. The standard for the 100m is 11.50 and I’ve run 11.57 this season.
‘It’s been a frustrating summer especially having run so fast during the indoor season, I would have expected to qualify easily.
‘The closing date for the standard is this weekend at nationals but my main focus this weekend is to come away with the win. If the time comes then all the better. I will be going to Berlin anyway as a member of the 4x100m relay.
‘I have plenty of competition this weekend, with the likes of the juniors who recently won silver in the relay at world juniors, so it will be an exciting race.
‘I love racing at nationals and I always manage to find the form I’ve been looking for each year so I’m excited to see what I can do.’
Joan’s sister Phil will compete in the 200m at the nationals this Saturday, and last weekend also raced in the 100m at the London Diamond League where she finished eighth in her semi-final.