2023 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships 400m champion, Rhasidat Adeleke says her teammate, Julien Alfred’s win in the 100m event a few minutes before her 400m race gave her the confidence she to win despite the big hurdle Britton Wilson represented.
Alfred, the Saint Lucia sprinter completed a sprint double at the Championships but it was her first win (100m) that inspired the 20 year old Irish athlete.
‘When my teammate won, it made me more excited for my own race,’ Adeleke told Track and Field News, the most authoritative magazine on track and field matters.
Prior to the Championships, Wilson was flying in the collegiate circuit and had set a 49.13 NCAA record last month at the LSU Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
When the two clashed in April at the Tom Jones Memorial in Gainesville, Florida, Wilson was the clear winner as she coasted home in 49.51.
Adeleke was second in the race but achieved her first sub-50 seconds performance at the event.
In the 400m semifinals at the NCAA Championships, Wilson again showed why she was the overwhelming favourite as she raced home first in 49.36, the fastest qualifying time in the event.
Adeleke also raced inside 50 seconds for the second time but her 49.86 return only proved she would end up as the silver medal winner in the final behind Wilson.
In the final, Adeleke proved she wanted it more than Wilson and became University of Texas’ first 400m title winner in five years.
‘I just put myself into position coming into the homestretch, and it was the kick at the end, which is something I’ve been doing well all season,’ the Irish girl told Track and Field News.