Sophie Becker is aiming high after a very strong year culminated in an appearance at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin over the summer.
Becker, who is in her third year of Genetics and Cell Biology in DCU, represented Ireland in the 4x400m relay alongside Claire Mooney, Davicia Patterson and Sinéad Denny where the team finished 8th in their heat.
Becker was delighted to have been picked for the team. “To go to Berlin this time last year was something in the distance, I would have loved to have gone but I never thought I actually would have done it.”
This is not Becker’s first taste of international competition, however. She took part in the European Under 23s in Bydgoszcz in Poland last summer. However, Becker has no doubt in her mind that the Championships in Berlin were a step above anything that had gone before. “The only word I can use to describe it is surreal, it was just amazing”.
The 400m runner had an extremely successful year both at college and club levels, totaling two gold and two silver medals as well as a new DCU indoor record for the distance.
“I didn’t think it could get any better and then I went to Berlin and it’s just another level. I was there warming up beside people who I follow on Instagram, have Olympic medals, World records. I’ll never forget it, it was brilliant.”
The 21-year old from Wexford benefited greatly from the experience around her in the team, sharing a room with fellow sprinter and DCU alumni Catherine McManus.
“It was so nice, she had experience, she would give me advice like, ‘maybe you should do this, or eat this before this, just staying calm and focused’, I was so lucky to be rooming with her.”
“Everyone was so focused, but people were still messing around. The whole Irish team stayed in the same hotel. When anyone was competing, everyone would be swarmed around the TV or down at the track watching.”
The future for Becker looks bright, and the athlete has set herself goals she wants to achieve in the next couple years on an international level. “Now there’s World Championships on in 2019 in Qatar, so I kind of have that in my mind now and then, obviously after that it’s 2020 in Tokyo.”
“The fact that I made it to something so big like a Senior Championships when I was only 21, I know the World Championships are another level but if I can do that (referring to the Europeans) then it’s not too mad to think I can do that, and then Tokyo as well after that. It’s an exciting few years I have ahead.”
Image credit: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile.