Belfast Telegraph

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Commonwealth Games: Emma Mitchell on a high after smashing her own Northern Ireland record


By Brian Hill

Banbridge's Emma Mitchell defied the odds to post a new Northern Ireland record of 32 minutes, 49.91 seconds in the 10,000m final at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games - beating her previous record by almost two seconds.

Her achievement - which secured 15th place, over one minute down on winner Stella Chesang of Uganda - came in gruelling fashion in a race which took place in far from ideal conditions considering the high humidity.

The 24-year-old Queen's student stuck to her task of staying with the large field, covering half-distance in a record-breaking 16 minutes and 18 seconds.

However, she then drifted back and ran most of the final 12 laps on her own.

She rallied on the last lap and passed Australia's Eloise Wellings to secure the new NI record.

An exhausted but ecstatic Mitchell said: "I am really happy with that. I managed to keep my mental and physical strength when on my own. There was a lot of chopping and changing.

"It is very hard to go with the field when they move away. I did work my way back towards the end. I am clearly in good shape for so early in the season. I've received great support to achieve this."

Earlier, Northern Ireland athletics captain Ciara Mageean also produced a gutsy, determined display in her 1,500m heat to qualify in sixth for today's final.

The 26-year-old Portaferry woman was aggressive from the off and stuck to Olympic champion Caster Semenya. The first lap was covered in 65 seconds with Mageean always in the top four.

She retained a top-three placing for much of the last lap before being overtaken in the final 50m. However, her time of four minutes, 7.78 seconds was a season's best and the sixth fastest of 19 competitors. Semenya had the fastest time with 4.05.86.

North Down's Ben Reynolds came an agonising 0.06 seconds short of qualifying for today's 110m hurdles final.

The 27-year-old finished fourth in his heat in a time of 13.70 seconds, which was the fastest non-qualification time.

Lagan Valley's Jack Agnew acquitted himself well in his T54 1,500m wheelchair heat to finish fifth in three minutes, 13.78 seconds and qualify for today's final. 

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