Bandon AC star wins gold and sets new PB at nationals
BY KIERAN McCARTHY
PHIL Healy intends to run both the 60m and 400m at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade at the start of March (3rd-5th).
The Bandon AC sprinter secured the European standard for the 400m at the Irish Life Health National Indoor Championships in Abbotstown, Dublin last Sunday on her way to winning gold.
Healy had already qualified in the 60m for the Europeans and knew that last weekend was her final chance to get the 400m qualifying time – and she delivered in sensational style.
The Ballineen woman (22) won gold in a new personal best of 53.49, which was well within the European qualifying standard of 54.75 and also saw her beat Sinead Denny.
Healy’s time moves her to number two on the Irish all-time indoor 400m list, equal with Joanne Cuddihy, Irish outdoor senior record holder. The West Cork woman’s time of 53.49 is the fastest women’s 400m run indoors on Irish soil – and she still feels there’s more to come.
‘There is definitely more there,’ she told The Southern Star.
‘This was my sixth indoor 400m race so I take a lot of encouragement from that.
‘It’s all about working on the correct pacing going through the first lap. (On Sunday) I think I nailed it, and there is definitely more in the last lap. That comes with races and building the strength.’
Healy’s times also suggest that she has the potential to run faster outdoors when you consider that running indoors is more difficult and has more turns to deal with.
That she has now run faster indoors over 400m compared to outdoors means that there is more in the tank – but first she has the Europeans to look ahead to.
‘I’m going to do both events (60m and 400m) over there now and I’m looking forward to preparing for the next two weeks.
‘It’s all about gaining experience at major championships and hopefully I lower that PB in the 400m in Belgrade,’ said Healy, who just missed out on breaking the Irish 60m record at the Athlone International last week. She ran two new 60m PBs, 7.34 in her heat and then 7.31 in the final where she finished third and just one hundredth of a second off the national record of 7.31.
Also at the National Indoor Championships last weekend, Phil’s older sister, Joan (Bandon AC), won a silver medal in the women’s 60m while Laura McSweeney (Bandon AC) came fourth in the women’s shot putt with Roisín Howard (Bandon AC) in sixth place.