NI’s top middle distance athlete Ciara Mageean (UCD AC) / Steve Vernon) made light work of her 1,500 metres heat yesterday (Friday 10th August 2018) in the European Championships in Berlin.
The 26 year old bronze medallist from the last Europeans in Amsterdam always appeared to be running well within herself in a slow, tactical race which only came to life in the last lap which the leaders covered in under 61 secs.
This group included Ciara and event favourite Laura Muir who is the European Indoor champion and currently the fastest in Europe. These two plus Marta Pen of Portugal broke away in the last 150 metres with Muir and Mageean eyeing each other as they crossed the line as the leading qualifiers.
Laura Muir was timed at 4 mins 9.12 secs followed by Ciara (4.09.35) and Marta (4.09.40). They will in the 12 strong field for Sunday’s final.
This assured performance Ciara will give her confidence a boost for Sunday’s big test. After her bronze in 2016 she has struggled to maintain consistency in her racing. However, this season there have been encouraging signs that she is approaching top form.
A smiling Ciara said; “My instructions were to qualify here rather than depend on a fastest loser spot and I have done that. I felt good although things were a bit choppy on the inside lane because of the slow pace. This gives me a lot of confidence for the final. I expect a hard race in the final led by Laura Muir who is one of the greatest. The lead up to here has been good and I have been able to deal with nerves. I have done a lot of speed work and am pleased the last lap today was fast at under 61 secs. I had a bad 2017 year but athletes aren’t robots. I feel old in this young Irish team but Thomas’s bronze last night was a great example to us all.”
There was other Northern Ireland interest in the famous Olympic Stadium during the morning session. Rio Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty (Newcastle AC / Richard Rodgers) clocked 10:09.81 for 17th place in the 3,000m Steeplechase semi-final. Unfortunately this was not enough to see Kerry progress to Sunday’s final.
In the 4 x 400m relays, Leon Reid (Menapians AC / James Hillier) and Davicia Patterson (Beechmount Harriers) both ran well in their respective races but despite both teams recording new seasons bests, neither sealed a place in the next round.
Note: Information for report taken from Athletics NI website.