UCD track and field stars bring home the gold at National Indoor Championships

Posted 2 March, 2022

The National Indoor Championship saw four UCD Ad Astra Elite Athletes achieve gold winning performances, with track star Sarah Healy setting yet another new U23 national record.

Fresh off her new 1500m record at the Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix, the Dublin middle-distance runner and UCD law student proven to be equally impressive in the 3000m at the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena.

The 21-year-old's winning time of 8:53.67 secured her the first gold medal of the day at the competition, as well as a new Irish U23 indoor record.

Healy maintained a prominent position alongside fellow Olympian Michelle Finn throughout the race before upping the tempo with five laps to go. Her focus will now turn to next month’s World Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

“I like the 1500 and I want to stay there, but these days to run good 1500s you need to be really strong and fit so [the 3000m] is good preparation,” she said.

“Indoors is a good chance to compete. You have to go in and be prepared for anything, not be scared of anyone. There’s a lot of women around the same level so I think anything is possible.”

Running in the men's 3000m, Darragh McElhinney held off expected rival Tyrone teenager Nick Griggs to win the men's title.

The 21-year-old Cork athlete won in 8:02.84 - 2.99 seconds ahead of Griggs, in what was largely a pedestrian affair from the majority of the race.

In the final 1200m, McElhinney increased the tempo and managed to squeezed the strength and speed out of his 17-year-old rival.

In the men's 60m, it took 6.62 seconds for Israel Olatunde to claim his first national indoor title – with the 19-year-old UCD Computer Science student coming in just 0.01 seconds outside the Irish record.

His blistering time ensures his qualification for the World Indoor Championships.

Engineering student Luke McCann also claimed a spot in Belgrade along with his first national indoor title at the National Indoor Championships, with a brilliant 3:45:14 performance in the 1500m.

It was almost a solo affair as the Ad Astra athlete comfortably lead from the gun, winning the race almost 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Louis O’Loughlin.

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations