Belfast Telegraph

Mageean is aiming to continue her stunning season on World stage

Ciara Mageean
Ciara Mageean

By Brian Hill

Ireland's double European medallist Ciara Mageean will kick off her campaign at the World Championships in Doha tomorrow.

The 27-year-old holder of 12 national titles has transformed her career after moving to a high-power training group in Manchester last year.

This resulted in her taking a European indoors bronze medal in March in Glasgow, which was then followed this summer by her best ever track season.

The highlight was another Northern Ireland 1,500m record of four minutes 1.21 seconds in July in Monaco, which placed her 17th in the current world list.

The time was also an Irish mile record and is the second fastest ever by an Irish woman behind Sonia O'Sullivan.

The Portaferry ace has frequently raced over 800m this year in an effort to improve her speed in preparation for the inevitable brutal change of pace in major Championships such as Doha.

This seems to be paying dividends and Mageean will have high expectations that she has the ability to cope with any race tactics tomorrow and progress to Thursday's semi-finals.

Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith comfortably reached the 200m semi-final after winning her heat yesterday.

The 23-year-old, who won 100m silver on Sunday, clocked 22.32 seconds at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Asher-Smith is favourite for the 200m title tomorrow.

• World Championships organisers have responded to criticism about the poor crowds at the Khalifa International Stadium for the event.

The IAAF, athletics' governing body, has come under fire for wretched crowds in the opening days of competition.

Just 13,288 people - although 1,484 were guests - watched the first session on Friday, while attendances declined in the following two days.

The Khalifa International Stadium holds 40,000 but the capacity has been cut to around 24,000 for the Championships, and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) has responded.

A statement read: "After two solid days of attendance, (70% on Day 1 and 67% on Day 2), numbers were down on our expectations on Day 3, under 50%, which coincided with the start of the working week in Qatar.

"We are confident our renewed efforts will encourage the local community to come and witness the performance of the world's best athletes.

"The challenge we face with a competition schedule that is geared to support global TV viewership, is that some finals are not starting until the late evening."

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