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How Belfast's 'fast, classy race' helped Ciara Mageean prepare for World Championships

 

Front runner: Ciara Mageean races to victory in Belfast last night
Front runner: Ciara Mageean races to victory in Belfast last night

By Brian Hill

The sixth Belfast International Athletics Meeting last night at the Mary Peters Track produced the usual array of exciting performances and impressive results.

No-one was more impressive than GB's Adam Gemili, who had little difficulty securing an emphatic win in the 200 metres in 20.63 secs, well ahead of NI's Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Leon Reid who was timed at 20.89 secs.

Gemili (25), who was fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, has had his share of injury problems over the years as well as massive success including two European Championship golds and a World Championship relay gold.

The women's 800 metres was one of the highlights of the evening and expectations were certainly fulfilled.

GB's Jacqui Fairchild was the perfect pacemaker as she went through 400 metres in 60 seconds, with 600 metres covered in 90 seconds.

GB's Hannah Segrave then moved to the front but she was always shadowed by European indoor silver medallist Ciara Mageean.

Portaferry's Ciara moved with what appeared to be considerable ease to the front in the home straight and was never seriously challenged as she crossed the line in 2.02.40, with a 20 metres advantage from Segrave. Ciara will be particularly pleased about defeating Segrave as she just recently missed breaking two minutes for the distance in London.

Last week's Irish bronze medallist Nadia Power was third ahead of the University of Ulster's Katie Kirk, who recorded a massive season's best time of 2.04.43 .

This is Mageean's latest 800 metres victory following her win in the Irish Championships.

She commented: "The plan was to go out and race and build up my confidence.

"The pacing was perfect. These 800 metre races are all about preparing me for the World Championships in Doha. It is great to be involved in a fast, classy race in Belfast."

Although only fourth, Kirk was delighted with her season's best time which is her fastest for many years when she suffered a series of injuries. She said this would really help her confidence when representing Ireland in the European team championships in Norway next week.

In form Sarah Lavin was the runaway winner in the 100 metres hurdles.

The 25-year-old is currently on a high following her Irish Senior victory earlier this week, plus a frustrating fourth place in the recent world university championships in Naples.

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