Magnificent Ciara picks up a bronze for Ireland
Published 11/07/2016 | 02:30
Ciara Mageean was the toast of Ireland last night after she achieved a superb third-place finish to claim a bronze medal in the 1,500 metres at the European Championships in Amsterdam.
And what made the 24-year-old's achievement all the sweeter was that, just three years ago, she was told her running career might be over due to injury.
Ciara, from Portaferry, Co Down, now joins Sonia O'Sullivan and Dervla O'Rourke as only the third Irish woman to achieve a podium finish at the championships.
Before undergoing surgery to fix a bone spur in her heel three years ago, she was warned there was a chance she might never run again.
However, she showed remarkable determination to ensure she would never be a "has-been".
"When I was going through my injury, at no point did I think I was going to stop being a runner even though other people probably did," she said.
"It was disheartening going to events and hearing people say 'she used to be a good runner'.
"I never took time off from my gym work and rehab because I thought: 'no, I'm coming back. I'm not going to be a has-been'."
And it paid off in stunning style in Amsterdam yesterday as she claimed bronze, finishing just behind Holland's Sifan Hassan and Poland's Angelika Chichoka.
Sports Minister Shane Ross congratulated Ciara saying she had run a "gruelling race". "She stuck at it and we are very proud of her performance...Bringing home a medal from a major championships is always tough, but it is also very special."