Ciara Mageean, Ireland’s leading medal contender at this week’s European Indoor championships, has pulled out of the event.
Announcing her decision on social media, the middle distance runner from Co Down said: “Unfortunately due to a few setbacks I am not where I want to be in order to compete in the European Indoor Champs and do myself and the Irish vest justice. Never an easy decision but one that Steve (Vernon, her coach) and myself feel is right in order to best prepare me for the summer ahead.”
In a tweet she said she was disappointed not be racing alongside Ireland’s largest indoor team and the amazing athletes who are on top form. “I will be cheering every step of the way,” she said as she extended good luck of all of Team Ireland as well as her Manchester-based New Balance team-mates.
Mageean won a bronze medal in the 1,500m at the 2019 European indoor championships In Glasgow. Together with Mark English they were Ireland’s two leading medal contenders at this year's championships which begins on Thursday.
The experienced Portaferry athlete hit a rich vein of form last summer becoming the first Irish woman to go under two minutes for 800m with a national record of 1:59.69.
She then broke Sonia O’Sullivan’s 27-year-old Irish 1,000m with a brilliant performance in a top-quality field in Monaco. But her form dipped in the final three races of the 2020 outdoor season.
She appeared back to top form in her first indoor race of the season comfortably breaking nine minutes to a win a 3,000m race in Manchester – where she is based – in early February.
After finishing last in the 1,500m at the World Indoor tour meeting in Karlsruhe she said the unexpected death of her former coach Jerry Kiernan had taken ‘more out of me than I anticipated.’ She subsequently finished fourth in a low-key 800m race in Manchester.
Mageean will now focus on her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics.
Ireland will now have a 23-strong team heading to Torun in Poland for the European indoors which run from Thursday to Sunday.