Golden Girl Mawdsley leads Ireland to European Mixed Relay glory

By Shane Brophy

Sharlene Mawdsley was the toast of Tipperary and Ireland last night has she led the Ireland Mixed Relay team to gold at the European Athletics Championships in Rome.

The team of Chris O'Donnell, Rhasidat Adeleke, Thomas Barr & Mawdsley produced a magnificent performance to win gold in time of 3:09.92, a championship record for what was a fabulous success.

Sligo athlete O'Donnell kicked things off and was fourth in 46.09 when handing over to Adeleke, who clocked a super 49.53 second split, before handing to Barr in first place. The Waterford man posted a lung-busting 44.90 and in second place when passing the baton to Mawdsley (49.40) who bided her time before hitting the front coming down the last 100m to finish ahead of Italy (3:10.69) with the Netherlands led home by Femke Bol third.

Mawdsley spoke about the moment she decided to pass the Italian in front of her and hit for home.

"Honestly, I wanted to take her on the back straight but then I said, 'hold on Sharlene, just use her, she's going out hard'.

"I was getting a bit impatient, I wanted to take her on the bend but then I said 'just go for it'. I have trained my life for this.

"Tom and I were saying earlier that we felt so good in the warm up; we were wondering what was going on?

"Honestly it's everything to me, probably everything to the team. The whole stadium was just amazing and the Irish fans turn up every time and it's just super."

Barr, Adeleke, O'Donnell and Mawdsley join Sonia O'Sullivan as the only gold medallists for Ireland in the 90-year history of the European Championships.

Sharlene returns to the track on Sunday evening at around 7.05pm for the semi-finals of the individual 400m, with the final scheduled for Monday at 8.50pm.

The heats of the women’s 4x400m relay take place at around 10.15am on Tuesday morning with the final set to be the penultimate event of the Championships on Tuesday evening around 9.40pm.