Monday 23 October 2017

Athletics: Rising star Mageean set to turn down scholarships for 'gap year'

Ciara Mageean. Photo: Hasse Sjögren / Sportsfile
Ciara Mageean. Photo: Hasse Sjögren / Sportsfile
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

COLLEGES both at home and abroad are queueing up with scholarship offers for rising Irish middle-distance star Ciara Mageean (18) -- but they will have to wait as she is taking a 'gap year' next season.

The Portaferry teenager, who won 1,500m silver at the World Junior Championships in Canada three weeks ago, will receive her A-level results this Thursday.

But she confirmed to the Irish Independent yesterday that she is deferring any college start for a year, partly to allow her run in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

Mageean smashed Sonia O'Sullivan's Irish junior record last summer and knocked nearly six seconds off her personal best when running 4:09.51 in Moncton last month, where only an Ethiopian beat her and she came home well clear of several more African athletes.

She had already signalled her outstanding talent by winning 800m silver at the World Youths last summer, plus 1500m gold at the European Youth Olympics.


Mageean is part of Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games team which also includes Jason Smyth and while she has the qualifying standard for both the 800m and 1500m, she intends only contesting the metric mile in India.

After that she will race for Ireland in the European Cross-Countries in Portugal in December and her focus next summer will be on the European Junior Championships in her last season in that grade.

Elsewhere, several officials in South Africa's athletics body are set to face charges after the country's Olympic committee investigated its finances and handling of the Caster Semenya affair.

Eight Athletics South Africa board members, including president Leonard Chuene, were suspended last November.

Semenya sat out 11 months after becoming 800m world champion because of a dispute over gender tests that began soon after her victory in Berlin last August.

Chuene has admitted to lying about the gender tests performed in South Africa on Semenya before the worlds, claiming he was trying to protect her. Semenya was cleared to run by the IAAF last month and is set to return to Berlin's Olympic Stadium to compete this weekend.

Irish Independent

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