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Ciara Mageean powers through to break long-held Northern Ireland record

By Brian Hill

Published 25/07/2016

Fast lane: Ciara Mageean finished second in the 800m in Santry and her lifetime best time is a huge confidence boost going into the Rio Olympics
Fast lane: Ciara Mageean finished second in the 800m in Santry and her lifetime best time is a huge confidence boost going into the Rio Olympics

Rio Olympics-bound runner Ciara Mageean gave herself the perfect send-off with a magnificent performance in the Morton Games on Saturday.

The Portaferry athlete recorded a lifetime best of 2:00.79 to finish second in the 800m in Santry and become the third fastest woman in Irish athletics history.

The time beats her previous personal best by more than two seconds and breaks Amanda Crowe's long-standing Northern Ireland record of 2:01.83 set in the Commonwealth Games back in 1998. The 24-year-old, who will race over 1,500m in Rio and clinched European bronze over the distance in Amsterdam, fought a close battle with Britain's Alex Bell, who just got the verdict on the line in 2:00.53.

Ulster's Mark English, who is also Rio-bound, was pleased with a season's best time over 800m in the Anniversary Games in London over the weekend. In a really fast race, he finished seventh in 1:45.36.

In the steeplechase event, Ireland's Sara Treacy, who will also be boarding the plane for Rio, was highly satisfied with her sixth place in a new PB of 9:39.41.

The Anniversary Games, meanwhile, proved very productive for Team GB's Olympic hopefuls.

Mo Farah set himself up for the defence of his twin Olympic titles in Rio by claiming a dominant 5,000m victory with an impressive display of front-running.

The 33-year-old, back at the Olympic Stadium where he memorably completed the first of so far three global long-distance doubles at London 2012, destroyed the field.

He produced a storming final lap to cross the line in 12 minutes 59.29 seconds, the fastest time in the world recorded this year.

Great Britain's men's 4x100m team made a statement ahead of the Olympics by running the fastest time in the world of 37.78 seconds, and Laura Muir broke Kelly Holmes' British 1,500m record with an impressive run.

She pulled well clear of the field to come home in 3:57.49, and won by more than three seconds and eclipsed double Olympic champion Holmes' mark of 3:57.90 from the Athens Olympics in 2004.

After finishing seventh in the long jump, World and Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill says she is not the favourite for the gold medal in the heptathlon event at the Rio Games.

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