Ciara Magean believes she has a real shot at a Commonwealth Games medal in the 1500m after advancing to tomorrow’s final at Alexander Stadium.
The Portaferry woman was pleased with her performance, winning her semi-final in a time of 4:13:52. It was the smooth, steady run of an athlete confident in her form who came to Birmingham after 18 months of testing.
Beloved Scot Laura Muir, who won silver in the 1500m at the Tokyo Olympics and bronze at this year’s World Championships, also made it to the Mageean semi-final with ease and is saving herself for tonight’s 800m final as she aims for the Commonwealth double.
Muir may be the standout in tomorrow’s 1500m final, but don’t forget former European champion Magean.
“I definitely have a shot at a medal and I draw confidence from that,” said the 30-year-old, who finished 13th on the Gold Coast four years ago.
“I feel like I have unfinished business at the Commonwealth Games. I was disappointed with the last Commonwealths because they didn’t do better so I want to go out there and be really proud of the National Athletics Association because they were fantastic for me and all the athletes.
“The goal is to get on the podium and see our flag raised.
“I was happy with my run. The goal was to get to the final, so the job is done. Now I have to go back and recover for the final on Sunday.”
Magian has a new coach in veteran English athlete Helen Clitheroe, and their relationship is working out well.
“I feel like I am in very good shape. I had some good 800s, came back from camp in St. Moritz and ran the 800 again at 1.59, so I know my speed is good,” she said.
“I also know that I had probably one of the best training blocks I’ve ever had under my new coach Helen, so it’s fantastic to have such an experienced athlete in my corner. Helen has been to many Commonwealth Games so it’s nice to have her experience.”
As is the case with the vast majority of competitions in Birmingham, home country athletes are getting fantastic support at the track and field stadium and Magean loves it.
“I have to say, here in Birmingham the crowd is phenomenal, I am stunned. I don’t know if I’ve ever run in front of such an amazing crowd, so I’m looking forward to the final day,” she said.
“I was very young at my first Commonwealth Games (Delhi 2010) and then had a difficult second Commonwealth Games, so I feel like I am in the best place for this competition.”
It’s great to see one of Northern Ireland’s most popular athletes in such high spirits after a difficult period when she suffered a torn calf muscle a week before last year’s Olympics.
The County Down runner boldly chose to compete in Japan, finishing 10th in her heat and failing to qualify for the semi-finals she achieved at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
Moreover, before the disappointment of the January 2021 Olympics, it was heartbreaking when former coach Gerry Kiernan passed away.
Magean is looking forward to delivering the product over the weekend.
“I got into a very good shape last year, tore my calf before the Olympics, I had a difficult season in cross country because I had to treat a knee injury, but all this is over. I feel in great shape, so I don’t dwell on it. I just focus on being strong and getting what I want from the finale,” she says.
Earlier this week at the Alexander Stadium, Kate O’Connor delivered a stunning performance to take silver in the heptathlon. This has been welcomed by the NI Athletics team and Magean may add a feel-good factor tomorrow. It promises to be a real race.
Meanwhile, Megan Marrs finished fourth in the women’s 100m hurdles yesterday morning with a time of 13.37. It was the best season for Marrs, but it wasn’t enough to take her to the final.
However, the 25-year-old was pleased with her best result in nearly two years after overcoming multiple injury problems, and the Lisburn athlete made no secret of her desire to break Mary Peters’ longtime 1972 record of 13.29 seconds. .
Marrs said: “I never thought I would ever get here safe and sound because of all my physical problems. It was once in a lifetime and I was unusually nervous.
“As a result, I overcame a couple of obstacles, however, I expected to succeed, as my training has been going especially well over the past month. In the future, of course, I want to record a Mary Peters album in Northern Ireland.”