Magic Mageean back in the groove ahead of Rio
Portaferry’s Ciara Mageean started her Olympic track season in style at the Belfast International Athletics meeting at the Mary Peters track when she ran a respectable time of 9 mins 7.47 secs in a mixed race over 3,000 metres.
The multi NI record holder was competing in a rain affected meeting where the conditions did not affect a series of classy performances from some of the 300 athletes.
Mageean was testing her race fitness in her first track race of the year before the critical challenges ahead over her Rio 1,500 metres distance.
While the 24-year-old was unfortunate to become isolated early in her event, she produced a blistering finish for sixth place behind winner David O’Flaherty (8.56.62).
A relaxed Ciara said: “I consider this to be a strong performance in my first track race this year.
“I feel there is much more to come. I had no time in mind, but I certainly finished strongly. As you can see I wasn’t ill afterwards which is my normal form.
“My first big 1,500 metres test will be in Belgium at the end of the month”.
Performance of the meeting went to Donore’s John Travers who had an impressive solo run in the A race where he had a 7 secs victory margin in 8.03.69. The hard work of the pacemakers ensured that Ireland’s Pierre Murchan (8.11.83) and Jack O’Leary (8.14.13) obtained qualification times for the World Juniors in Poland in July.
There was intense interest in the talent laden Men’s 400 metres where double European gold medallist David Gillick was competing in only his second race since 2012.
The 32-year-old showed serious signs of his old self by finishing second in 47.24 secs ahead of Timmy Crowe (47.37 secs) and North Down’s Andrew Mellon (47.83 secs).
Class double act of the day came from Birchfield’s Theo Campbell who won the 400 metres with a massive PB of 46.24 secs.
He also edged out Scotland’s Cameron Tindle for victory in the 200 metres in 21.40 secs.
The much-anticipated Women’s 400 metres hurdles lived up to expectations with British Universities champion Jess Turner, Ballymena’s Christine McMahon and Ireland’s Jessie Barr fighting a close battle right to the line.
The verdict went to Turner in 58.12 secs closely followed by McMahon (58.32 secs) who finally defeated rival Barr (58.50 secs).
A delighted Christine said: “I was leading with 20 metres to go but my legs just gave way.
“I am pleased with my performance and will get better with a few more races.”