Ir­ish flyer Healy wins pres­ti­gious Euro­pean award

Irish Examiner - Sport - - GENERAL -

Ban­don sprinter Phil Healy has been named Euro­pean fe­male ath­lete of the month for Jan­uary, the first time in five years an Ir­ish­woman has won the prize.

The 23-year- old en­joyed a mas­sive break­through last month, when clock­ing 52.08 for 400m in Vi­enna, hack­ing more than a sec­ond off her pre­vi­ous best of 53.15.

Healy beat strong op­po­si­tion to claim the ti­tle, in­clud­ing reign­ing world high-jump cham­pion Mariya La­sitskene of Rus­sia. The award was de­cided by a so­cial-me­dia vote, with Healy net­ting more than 2,000 votes across Face­book and Twit­ter, al­most five times that of win­ner Karsten Warholm. It’s the first time since Fion­nu­ala Mccor­mack in March 2013 that an Ir­ish­woman has won the award, with Thomas Barr the most re­cent Ir­ish male win­ner in April 2015.

Un­der the guidance of coach Shane Mccor­mack, Healy has made gi­ant strides in re­cent years, as she tran­si­tions from the short sprints to the 400m.

Last week­end, she con­tin­ued her fine run of form by fin­ish­ing third in a world-class 400m in Karl­sruhe, Ger­many, in 52.67.

Her chief tar­get now will be the Na­tional In­door Cham­pi­on­men’s ships in Ab­bot­stown (Fe­bru­ary 17-18), after which she will turn her at­ten­tion to next month’s IAAF World In­door Cham­pi­onships in Birm­ing­ham.

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