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Saturday 7 December 2019

Sonia in Hall of Fame on her 50th

Sonia O’Sullivan. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Sonia O’Sullivan. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM

Sonia O'Sullivan will celebrate her 50th birthday in style tomorrow when she joins the Irish Athletics Hall of Fame at the National Athletics Awards in Blanchardstown.

O'Sullivan, one of Ireland's greatest athletes, sprung to prominence in 1987 as a 17-year-old when she won the national senior cross country title in Killenaule.

On the track, she won the world 5000m title at Gothenburg in 1996 as well as European titles at 3000m in 1994 and over 5000m and 10,000m in 1998.

Earlier that year, she had won both the long and short course races at the World Cross Country Championships on a memorable weekend in Marrakesh.

She competed in four Olympic Games, starting with Barcelona in 1992, where she finished fourth in the 3000m, and finally taking the medal she so richly deserved at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she finished second in the 5000m. Along the way, she also won Golden League and World Athlete of the Year titles.

Awards will also go to the Athlete of the Year and to athletes in endurance, track and field, U20, and U23 categories at the annual ceremony.

Among those nominated are Ciara Mageean, Thomas Barr and Mark English (track and field), Fionnuala McCormack (endurance); Ryan Forsyth and Ciara Neville (U23); and Sarah Healy, Kate O'Connor, Davicia Patterson, Aaron Sexton and Darragh McElhinney in a highly competitive U20 category.

Happy 50th birthday also to Irish women's marathon record holder Catherina McKiernan, whose birthday is on Saturday.

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