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Paris 2024 fever starts early…, by Mike Rowbottom

Paris 2024 fever starts early..., by Mike Rowbottom

The Paris Fever has started early. This is the first column on #Paris2024 from Mike Rowbottom, who will be writing a weekly column for #RunBlogRun.

This is Mike Rowbottom’s first piece for RunBlogRun. Mike will be doing a weekly column for RunBlogRun on athletics topics and at least once a month on Paris 2024. 

Mike Rowbottom covered the last three Olympic Games as chief feature writer for Insidethegames and the previous five for The Independent in London. He has worked for the Daily Mail, The Times, The Observer and The Guardian. 


Paris 2024 fever starts early…

by Mike Rowbottom

A satisfying collision occurred at the weekend’s Dr Martin Luther King Jr Collegiate Invitational in the high altitude setting of Albuquerque as an Irish runner hit the padded barrier bearing the name of the hosting city at speed.

After bouncing back from the first letter “E” the 21-year-old was soon celebrating a 60 metres time of 7.15sec – which bettered her national record of 7.17.

The commentator added, excitedly: “That’s going to be the second fastest time in the world this year from Rhasidat Adeleke…”

Not only was it going to be, but it was as she took her place in the early 2024 listings behind the 7.11 clocked by US runner Aleia Hobbs in Baton Rouge.

An hour later, the young woman who won the NCAA 400m title last June with a national record of 49.20 – a result which prompted her to skip her final year at the University of Texas and turn professional – lowered another of her records, improving her 200m best from 22.52 to 22.49.

Rhasidat Adeleke won the 2023 NCAA 400m title in an Irish NR, photo by How Lao Photography.

Exciting form in any year. More so in the Olympic year. The blue touch paper has been lit – or perhaps, in the case of this Dublin-born product of Nigerian parents Ade and Prince, it should be green touch paper.

Athletics followers back in her home country are already getting into what you might call pre-subrational mode, anticipating a final burst of achievement in the French capital this summer.

All the anticipation and interest generated by Adeleke’s participation in last year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest is about to be seen and raised in the Emerald Isle.

In Budapest, Adeleke, gamely extending a season that had already peaked for the NCAA Championships, missed a medal by one place in her specialist event of 400 metres.

But Irish eyes were smiling, and Irish fans were posting. Never mind, next year, that’s the one…

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