Mageean follows in O'Sullivan's footsteps to reach World final
A world 1500-metre finalist, at long last. Just the second Irishwoman in history to accomplish that feat - the first being a certain Sonia O'Sullivan.
The second is Ciara Mageean, and in Doha, Qatar last night the 27-year-old Portaferry native ran what was, quite possibly, the best race of her life.
Calm, confident, with a certainty befitting her many achievements, Mageean nestled on the shoulder of the leader and ran at the front in the opening laps as the 12 athletes dawdled through 800m in a pedestrian 2:28.24, after which the gears started to turn.
"Anybody who knows me knows I'm not a front-runner, that was a shock to be at the front but if they wanted me to go to the front and they had to come around me, that was okay with me," she said.
At the bell Mageean was still in second and fighting off the challenge of Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon, and she maintained second place into the home straight, at which point she was unable to match the pace of race winner Sifan Hassan, who won in 4:15.49.
But Mageean powered to the line just behind and secured the last automatic place in the final, putting her into illustrious company in the annals of Irish athletics. It was a race where she was unwilling to hold anything in reserve.
"I said to myself I'm going to do everything to make the final, to run it like a final," she said. "I said to myself in the home straight: give it my all. That's what I did."
The last time an Irish athlete reached a world final in any middle-distance event was in 2011, when Ciarán Ó Lionáird finished 10th in the 1500m at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Mageean goes to the line at 6.55pm Irish time tomorrow. "I'm going to give it everything," she said. "Get in the final and it's anyone's game."