Adeleke clinches 400m silver for Ireland in Rome

Ireland's Rhasidat Adeleke clinched the silver medal in the women's 400 metres at the European Championships in Rome after being pipped for gold by Poland's Natalia Kaczmarek.

Adeleke, 21, clocked a new Irish record of 49.07 seconds, which cut 0.13 seconds off her previous personal best, but was edged out by the Pole who won in a European lead time of 48.98 seconds.

Kaczmarek, 26, took silver at last year's World Championships when the Irishwoman was fourth but Adeleke still went into the Rome final as a marginal favourite.

The duo were well clear of field as they reached the home straight but Kaczmarek produced the stronger finish to edge the victory.

Dubliner Adeleke was hoping to win her country's third gold in Rome after being part of Ireland's victorious 4x400m mixed relay team on Friday.

Ciara Mageean landed Ireland's second Rome gold when she clinched the women's 1500m title on Sunday night.

Dutch woman Lieke Klaver clocked 50.08 seconds to win the bronze with Adeleke's Irish team-mate Sharlene Mawdsley, who was also part of the mixed relay squad, finishing a somewhat disappointing eighth in 51.59 seconds.

'I'm really excited' with PB

Adeleke said she initially felt "devastated" on crossing the line but on further reflection was pleased to run a new personal best as her first Olympics looms.

"We've been training through this competition so to even come out and run a PB, I'm really excited," the 21-year-old told RTE Sport.

"Paris is the goal. Whatever we could do here, we'd do it. We'll be training hard for the next couple of weeks and hopefully by the time it comes to Paris, I'll be where I need to be."

Adeleke believes her silver medal will give her motivation for the Paris Games where she will be aiming to improve on her fourth place in Budapest last summer.

"I wanted the gold but still, I could have not made the final, there's so many things that could have gone wrong.

"A silver medal is in some ways more important because it means you've got more work to do and the time to do it."

Adeleke finished 2023 fourth in the 400m world rankings and her new Irish record performance put her fourth in the current 2024 standings behind the USA's Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (48.75), Jamaica's Nickisha Pryce (48.89) and new European champion Kaczmarek.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Andrew Coscoran
Andrew Coscoran (right) was fifth in his 1500m heat, which was won by Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen (left) [Getty Images]

Earlier, Ireland's Andrew Coscoran produced a strong run to qualify for the men's 1500m final but teenager Nick Griggs missed out.

Coscoran faded after leading his heat on the first lap in Rome but his time of three minutes 38.52 seconds was enough to secure qualification in fifth place.

Norway's reigning Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the heat ahead of the final, which takes place on Wednesday evening (21:26 BST).

Griggs, 19, was 14th with a time of 3:45.66 in his heat, which was won by Great Britain's Neil Gourley.

There was disappointment for Irish duo Phil Healy and Louise Shanahan, who missed out on qualification in the women's 200m and 800m respectively. Healy clocked 23.51 to finish fifth in the 200m heats while Shanahan bowed out of the 800m after finishing sixth in her heat in 2:04.81.

Thomas Barr, who helped Ireland to a historic mixed relay gold medal on Friday, was knocked out of the men's 400m hurdles semi-finals.

With the top two automatically qualifying, 31-year-old Barr finished third in 49.61, missing out on the final by 0.04 of a second.

Ireland's 20-year hammer thrower Nicola Tuthill completed her impressive championships by finishing ninth in 69.09m - 1.23 metres outside her personal best - as Italy's Sara Fantini took gold with 74.18m.