Deploying Adeleke correctly key to Irish hopes at World Athletics Relays

The Belfast Marathon is the highlight of the weekend on the local scene

Rhasidat Adeleke
Rhasidat Adeleke competes for Ireland at the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas

ATHLETICS Ireland sends two teams to the World Athletics Relays in The Bahamas this weekend as the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau welcomes 893 athletes from 54 countries all over the globe.

Although not strictly a world championships, the event has added edge in that it also serves as a qualifying opportunity for the Olympics.

On the first day, early Sunday morning our time, the top two teams in each heat will advance to the final on day two, securing their qualification for the Paris Games.

In the deciders on day two, teams will compete for prize money ($40K for winners right down to $2K for eighth-place) and obtain Olympic lane seeding positions.

Those teams not qualifying for the final will have the opportunity of a second run in the repechage races at the start of the programme on day two.

Athletics Ireland has called up Olympic hopeful Rhasidat Adeleke to boost both women’s and mixed 4x400m relay squads. Ireland has had plenty of success in both relays in the past couple of years, most recently reaching the final of the women’s 4x400m at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March, where they finished fifth.

There are 27 teams entered for the former, while there are 30 in the mixed 4x400m.

The dilemma here for the team mentors is to prioritise where to deploy Adeleke for best advantage over hopefully both days of competition.

The Netherlands, who struck gold in Budapest last year and at the World Indoor Championships in March, start favourites for the women’s 4x400m and can call on world indoor record-holder Femke Bol, while Jamaica and the United States selections are also strong contenders.

If Adeleke and Sharlene Mawdsley compete, Ireland should qualify for the final, providing they run the first two legs to gain crucial positional advantage at the second change over.

The mixed 4x400m is also expected to be highly competitive. Steven Gardiner and his fellow Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo feature on the host nation squad, but world record-holders USA and Olympic champions Poland both have formidable teams, as do the Netherlands, Olympic silver medallists Dominican Republic and world silver medallists Great Britain.

Again Ireland’s progress depends almost entirely on team selection and a fair measure of good fortune.

Aside from Adeleke and Mawdsley being present, 400m hurdles specialist Thomas Barr competes at these championships for the third time in the mixed relay. He is joined by Cillín Greene, Jack Raftery and Christopher O’Donnell who will all be hoping for starting spots.

The experienced trio of Phil Healy, Sophie Becker and Roisin Harrison, who were all part of the squad in Glasgow, could also feature for both squads.

Lauren Cadden and the only northern representative, Rachel McCann, provide support for both teams.

Meanwhile the London Marathon has always been well supported by Irish runners but the hopes of getting an entry grow slimmer by the year.

The number of applications to run in the 2025 event has broken all records with more than 840,000 people having applied, smashing the number of 578,000 set last year.

In total there have been 672,631 UK applications for 2025, with 50.33% from men, 49.03% from women and 0.64% from non-binary applicants. A total of 167,687 non-UK residents applied in the international ballot.

Sunday’s Belfast Marathon cannot compete with those figures but should nevertheless prove to an interesting affair with both of last year’s winners returning to defend their crowns.

Morocco’s Mohamed Oumaarir and Ethiopian Shewaye Woldemeskel faces strong overseas opposition, while Ed McGinley and Gladys Ganiel contend for the honour of being first local finisher in the respective men’s and women’s races.

A record 5,500 runners are expected to take to the streets for the main race while thousands are also involved in the ancillary events.

World Athletics Relays (times BST)


00:05 Mixed 4 x 400m Heats

00:50 Women’s 4 x 100m Heats

01:25 Men’s 4 x 100m Heats

02:05 Women’s 4 x 400m

02:49 Men’s 4 x 400m


00:05 Men’s 4 x 100m Repechage

00:40 Women’s 4 x 100m Repechage

01:05 Women’s 4 x 400m Repechage

01:30 Women’s 4 x 400m Repechage

02:04 Mixed 4 x 400m Repechage

02:40 Mixed 4 x 400m Final

02:50 Women’s 4 x 100m Final

03:00 Men’s 4 x 100m Final

03:10 Women’s 4 x 400m Final

03:20 Men’s 4 x 400m Final