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Ciara Mageean out to up the pace ahead of Rio Olympics

By Brian Hill

Multi Irish middle distance record holder Ciara Mageean takes to the boards once more in this weekend's GloHealth Irish Indoors in Athlone where the Rio-bound runner is entered for both the 800 and 1,500 metres events.

The 23-year-old Portaferry athlete is as yet undecided as to which event she will compete in, coming directly after her recent eye catching performances which produced Irish records at 1,500 metres in Germany and the Mile in New York.

It is highly unlikely further records will be in the offing at Athlone given Mageean's inevitable travel weariness plus the lack of a pacemaker.

Her easiest event is probably the 800 metres where she will face fellow Lisburn AC athlete Kelly Neely and QUB's Katie Kirk. Mageean has a minimum two seconds advantage here in best times this year.

There is a bigger time gap in the 1,500 metres - in which she has already qualified for the Rio Olympics - where her main opposition could be Newbridge's Rose Anne Galligan.

Defending 1,500m champion Kerry O'Flaherty of Newcastle is also entered but will only take a decision about competing after her 3,000 metres race.

There she faces tough opposition from recent Armagh road race winner Sara Treacy and Letterkenny's Anne Marie McGlynn.

Northern Ireland athletes were firm favourites to win both 60 metres titles but Lisburn's Amy Foster has decided to end her season to concentrate on qualification for the Olympics.

This leaves Ballymena's Jonathan Brownlee who will be disappointed if he doesn't secure his first Senior Indoor title.

Belfast's Adam McMullen is tipped to successfully defend his long jump title particularly following his recent PB jump of 7.83 metres in Gent.

North Down's 60 metres hurdler Ben Reynolds should also win in his first outing of the year following injury.

North Down's Andrew Mellon will fancy his chances in the 400 metres, while in the women's event title holder Christine McMahon from Ballymena will be pressed hard.

Belfast Telegraph


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