Mayo's Sarah Quinn (second in from right, with hands on head) celebrates with team-mates Aoife Lynch, Kate Doherty and Sophie Becker after finishing second in their 4 x 200m final during the IAAF World Athletics Relays in Poland. Photo: Radoslaw Jozwiak / Sportsfile

Mayo athlete's flying form helps Irish team secure a World Relay medal

Failure to make the Tokyo Olympics with the 4 x 100m squad was tempered somewhat for Mayo's Sarah Quinn when she helped the 4 x 200m team to second place at the IAAF World Athletics Relays in Poland yesterday (Sunday) evening.

The quartet of Quinn, of St. Colman's South Mayo AC, Aoife Lynch, Kate Doherty and Sophie Becker crossed the line in a time of 1:35.93 – which was good enough for second behind Poland's 1:34.98 (NR) and comfortably ahead of Ecuador's 1:36.86 (SB) in third. It was first ever podium position for Ireland at the event.

The team was made up of athletes from both the mixed 4 x 400m and women's 4 x 100m squads.

“We executed it well and got the right result,” said Quinn following the race. “We had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and we gave it our all.”

The Ballinrobe native was naturally disappointed at not making the Tokyo Olympics with her 4 x 100m team-mates, but not despondent. “We came here to give it our best and we gave it our best, and that’s all you can ask for,” she said. “I think we should be really proud.”

The team finished fourth in their semi-final heat behind Netherlands, Poland and Ecuador, a time of 44.53 seconds not quite good enough to secure qualification for the Tokyo games this summer but sufficient to earn a place at the World Championships next year in Eugene, Oregon.

Meanwhile, North Sligo AC's Chris O'Donnell was part of the mixed 4 x 400m squad that did qualify for the Olympics. Chris was joined in the team by Thomas Barr, Phil Healy and Sharlene Mawdsley for Saturday's heats, in which they secured qualification with a time of 3:16.84 to break the national record and seal a place in Tokyo.

Barr was replaced by Andrew Mellon for Sunday's final, where a seventh place finish didn't detract from the sense of accomplishment over the weekend as the main objective had already been achieved.

The podium places in the 4 x 400m mixed relay went to Italy in first (3:16.60) ahead of Brazil (3:17.54) and Dominican Republic (3:17.58).

Reacting to their Olympics qualification, Grange native O'Donnell commented: “We’re on the map now. A few other countries might have seen our name and not been scared, but we knew we were coming here with a really strong team. We believed in ourselves.”

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