Healy defends 400m title but her sister Joan agonisingly misses out on worlds
PHIL Healy warmed up for the World Indoor Championships by successfully defending her 400m national title.
The Bandon AC athlete (23) was one of the star attractions at last weekend’s Irish Life Health National Indoor Championships in Abbotstown – and she didn’t disappoint as she won the 400m final in style.
Phil has been in the headlines already this year after running a PB of 52.08 in Vienna last month and having already qualified for the world indoors in Birmingham (March 1st-4th), the pressure was off her to hit a qualifying standard.
Still, she impressed when taking gold in 53.10 which was another world indoor standard, with Catherine McManus in second finishing in 53.81.
‘Phil was happy to defend her title off the back of an intense week of attention,’ her coach Shane McCormack told The Southern Star.
‘Her time of 53.10 was a championship record and all-comers record and another world qualifying time.
‘We have one more week of training and we fly to England on Tuesday ahead of the championships.’
While Phil celebrated more success, there was disappointment for her older sister Joan (25) who, while setting another 60m PB, missed out on qualifying for the world indoors by one hundredth of a second.
Joan has been in terrific form this year and already set three new 60m PBs, including 7.34, in the past few weeks. She knew she’d have to set another PB and equal the Irish record of 7.30 to achieve the world qualifying standard which is also 7.30, with the nationals her last chance.
She ran 7.35 to win her heat on Saturday and then recorded a superb 7.31 in the final on Sunday – but it was only enough for silver as Amy Foster sped to an Irish record of 7.27. It took a national record to beat the Ballineen woman.
Joan’s 7.31 was one hundredth of a second off the world indoor standard, and while she admits it’s very disappointing to miss out on Birmingham, she has made huge strides these past few months. She has already qualified for the 2019 European indoors.
Turning her attention to the outdoor season that begins in May, Joan will take her impressive 60m form into the 100m outdoors as she works towards achieving the 100m qualifying mark of 11.50 for August’s European Athletics Championships in Berlin. Her current 100m PB is 11.60 so 11.50 is well within her reach.