Davicia Patterson: Belfast athlete into 400m semi-finals at World Under-20s

Davicia Patterson will race in the 400m semi-finals in Tampere on Wednesday
Davicia Patterson improved the Irish and Northern Ireland junior 400m record to 52.88 seconds last month

Belfast athlete Davicia Patterson has safely progressed to the women's 400m semi-finals at the World Under-20 Championships in Finland.

The Beechmount Harrier clocked 53.20 seconds to finish second in her heat behind the USA's Taylor Manson (52.68).

Patterson's time left her ninth fastest qualifier for Wednesday's semi-finals in Tampere with India's Hima Das (52.25) producing the quickest heat.

The 17-year-old set her Irish junior record of 52.88 seconds recently.

That time would have left her fifth fastest in Tuesday's first round with Jamaica's Stacey-Ann Williams and Kenya's Mary Moraa third and fourth quickest in the heats with times of 52.71 and 52.85.

Patterson has improved her personal best on three occasions this year and is rapidly nearing Stephanie Llewellyn's Northern Ireland senior 400m record of 52.54 set in 1995.

On the first day of the championships, Patterson started in lane eight which meant she had no idea how her opponents were progressing over the opening 300m.

"I tried to cruise it until 300m and in the last 100 had to give it everything," Patterson told Athletics Ireland.

Sophie O'Sullivan, Sarah Healy and Rhasidat Adeleke show off their medals at Dublin Airport after returning from the European Under-18 Championships in Hungary
Sarah Healy (centre), Rhasidat Adeleke (right) and Sophie O'Sullivan won medals for Ireland at last week's European Under-18 Championship

Patterson aiming to continue Irish youth success

Patterson's Irish team-mate Ciara Deely missed out on clinching a semi-final spot after finishing sixth in her heat in 54.69.

Ireland's Jo Keane squeezed into the women's 800m semi-finals in Finland as a 2:09.59 clocking saw her earn a fastest loser's spot.

Belfast athlete Patterson will be hoping to continue the success of young Irish athletes at youth level over the past week.

Sarah Healy clinched a 1500/3000m double at the European Under-18 Championships in Hungary with 15-year-old Rhasidat Adeleke winning the women's 200m title and Sophie O'Sullivan taking 800m silver.

Sixteen-year-old O'Sullivan is the daughter of former Irish distance star Sonia O'Sullivan.

Commonwealth Youth Games champions Aaron Sexton (200m, 4x100m) and Sommer Lecky (high jump) are also competing for Ireland in Finland along with another Northern Ireland athlete Lauren Roy (4x100m).