'The world is your oyster'

By William O'Connor

‘THE World is Your Oyster’ was what double gold-medal hero Rhasidat Adeleke heard at the function by her club Tallaght AC to honour her achievements at the European Youth Festival in Baku.

Over 300 people attended the Greenhills Road venue on Tuesday evening to celebrate her achievements, with Mayor Vicki Casserly, councillors, President of the Athletics Ireland Georgina Drumm in attendance, and members of staff from her school at Presentation Community College Terenure.

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Rhasidat Adeleke proudly shows off her medals with Mayor Vicki Casserly and members of Tallaght Athletics Club last Tues­day evening Photo by Paddy Barrett

Club official Cecil Johnston thanked everyone for attending and spoke of how Tallaght AC was so proud of Rhasidat’s achievements.

He spoke of how Rhasidat joined the club in 2013 and how she progressed.

“This is a very special occasion for our club. We are very proud of her achievements and we are delighted that such a big crowd has turned up to honour her,”

Mayor Vicki Casserly, who is also a member of Lucan Harriers, said: “I think I need an engine to achieve the times Rhasidat has got this year.

“You have had an amazing result. You are only 16 and to achieve these results is amazing. The world Is your oyster – I look forward to following you in the future.

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Rhasidat Adeleke

“You made yourself proud, your county proud, your country proud, and most importantly Tallaght AC proud,”

President of Athletics Ireland Georgina Drumm said she was thrilled to be at the occasion.

She paid tribute to Rhasidat’s coaches at Tallaght AC and her family for supporting her.

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Mayor Vicki Casserly

“We must thank the coaches Daniel Kilgallon and, before that, Johnny Fox. Rhasidat always licensed to them to drive, drive, drive past the finish line. I must also thank Gerry Wallace and Cecil Johnston from Tallaght AC and most importantly Rhasidat’s right-hand woman, her mom,”

Meanwhile at the launch of Dublin Sportsfest 2019 on Tuesday, Rhasidat said she is already fielding approaches from several American universities, looking to secure her on scholarship even though she is still only 16.

Adeleke’s prodigious success so far means she is already being offered college scholarships from home and abroad, including some from prestigious US universities.

The Tallaght AC star has not yet made any decisions about her college future, but revealed that America has already come calling and she is trying to keep an open mind.

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“I will probably stay in Dublin, but I’ll have to see. It’s all been a bit of a blur,” she admitted at the launch of Dublin City Council’s Sportsfest 2019.

“I feel like America could be a bit of a risk, but it’s quite hard to judge from what other people say, or seeing pictures, so I might actually go over and check stuff out and might change my mind.”

Universities in Texas, Los Angeles and Kentucky, which are all sprint specialists, would be her preference if she was to take the USA scholarship route.

Several have already contacted her by text or email and she simply refers them to her mother: “I notify my mum and just text them saying ‘here’s my mum’s number’.”

Adeleke’s outstanding underage success already adds heavy expectations on her young shoulders and the EYOF noticeably did not attract any entries from Britain, one of Europe’s biggest sprint powers.

Her next big target is the World Juniors (U20s) in Kenya in July 2020.

Rhasidat is part of the Irish senior team travelling to Norway today (Wed) for the European Team Championships (August 9-11), where she will just compete as part of a 4 x 100m relay team.

On her return she starts her Leaving Cert year in Presentation Community College, Terenure on August 29 which is also, coincidentally, her 17th birthday. 

See more photos on page 50 and 51 in this week's paper.

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