Israel Olatunde, a UCD sprinter, broke two national indoor records twice in one day at the Irish Life Heath Elite Micro Meet, held in the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena.
The event saw athletes compete for European Indoor qualification, after receiving government approval to hold the event under COVID-19 guidelines via the Sport Ireland Expert Group.
Eighteen-year-old Israel Olatunde broke both the U20 and U23 indoor men’s 60-metre men’s records. In his first race, he set his first record-breaking time of the competition, 6.74 seconds. He then proceeded to beat his own record in his second 60-meter run, with a time of 6.73 seconds.
Isreal Olatunde is an Ad Astra Elite scholar at UCD and is a computer science student. When the College Tribune reached out for comment, Olatunde said that he is grateful to be back competing and that the competition was not an opportunity he took for granted. He also commented on the “amazing performances” put in by other athletes.
In total, five other current and alumnus AdAstra Elite Sports Scholars were selected to represent Ireland at the European Athletics Indoor Championships. The Championships are scheduled to take place in Torun, Poland from the 5th-7th of March 2021.
These athletes were Luke McCann, Darragh McElhinney, Sarah Lavin, Mark English and Ciara Mageean. Adding to the nine Irish records broken over the course of the weekend was McElhinney, who set a new U23 record in the men’s 3000m, with a time of 7:50.80. This beat the previous record of 7:51.35 which has been in place since 1994.
When commenting, Israel Olatunde mentioned how he was happy to “push Irish Athletics forward”.
Emer Nolan – Reporter