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Mageean vows to hit back after brave battle at Commonwealth Games

By Brian Hill

Ciara Mageean paid the ultimate price for possibly the most aggressive race of her career in the Commonwealth Games 1,500m final on the Gold Coast.

Mageean set a ferocious pace from the gun but at the end she  was eventually overtaken by the bulk of her rivals to finish in 13th place in 4 minutes 7.41 seconds — still a season’s best and faster than her first round heat.

The Portaferry athlete’s tactics meant she was never lower than fifth for most of the race in what was a world class field including double Olympic champion Caster Semenya. The 800m distance was covered in 2.11 with Mageean timed at 3.02 with one lap to go.

She was still well positioned coming into the home straight but couldn’t cope with the opposition over the final 50m.

Semenya took gold in a Games and South African record of 4.00.71 with a surprise bronze going to Melissa Courtney of Wales in 4.03.09. Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech was second in 4.03.09.

A defiant Mageean said: “I know I have what it takes to stay with these girls.

“I am therefore going to adopt an aggressive approach from now on. In the past I have adopted more passive tactics and it hasn’t paid off on many occasions. I was up there for most of the race.

“At least I proved I gave it my best shot and I am going to continue to fight from now on.

“I have therefore every intention of racing in the 800m heats later this week.”

In the final of the T54 1,500m wheelchair race, Lagan Valley’s Jack Agnew was unfortunately tailed off in the final lap and had to settle for 10th place in a time of 3.19.03.

Agnew’s time was some six seconds slower than his first round time.

The 19-year-old double World Junior Para champion appeared to be trapped in the inside lane for most of the race and was then simply unable to cover the fast pace on the final lap.

Gold went to surprise winner Alexandre Dupont from Canada, at 3.11.75 just marginally ahead of Kurt Fearnley of Australia (3.11.92).

Agnew said: “I am reasonably happy with my performance.

“I had no expectations coming into this competition and I gave it my best shot.

“The pace couldn’t have been better.

“I took a few knocks from the inside lane.

“However this is my first major race and the crowd was overwhelming.”

The Sports Science student  from Belfast Met said he would now concentrate on qualifying for the European Championships next August.

The short athletics programme today will feature Northern Ireland’s 200m semi-finalists Amy Foster and Leon Reid.

Reid has an excellent chance of progressing to the final given his impressive heat win in 20.73 seconds which placed him ninth fastest of 64 participants.

The 23-year-old requested permission last year to represent Ireland.

However no decision will be taken on this plus other transfer requests until a major review is completed by the IAAF.

Belfast Telegraph

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