Ireland’s World Athletics Championships campaign has got off to a difficult start at London’s Olympic Stadium, with Ciara Mageean bowing out of the women’s 1500 metres in the first-round heats, reports Will Downing from London.
The European bronze-medallist from Amsterdam last year came home in 13 th position, looking somewhat out of sorts, in 4:10.60 – seven seconds outside her season’s best and nine seconds away from her lifetime best.
Of the fourteen starters, the first six went through automatically to the semi-finals, plus the next six fastest-losers across all three opening round heats.
Mageean had found herself locked at the back early on, but pushed right through the middle of the back markers on the penultimate lap to put herself into live contention on a top-six finish.
However, the extra pace over the final 400m was not something she was able to match on the night, and fell back the field.
Ethiopia’s world record holder and defending champion Genzebe DFibaba took the honours in 4:02.67, ahead of Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya in second (4:02.84) and Kenya’s Winny Chebet third (4:03.19).
Britain’s Jessica Judd lopped two seconds off her lifetime best ot go through in sixth place, clocking 4:03.76.
Speaking after the race Mageean could not hide her disappointment.
“To be honest, that was just a disaster out there. Everybody has seen my season so far – it’s the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’ve been going from strength to strength, so to go out and run that race so poorly….
“I felt good. The early pace was fine, and I was just like (planning to) stay out of the bother, and don’t get caught up in the early bursts or whatever else – and then I just couldn’t get my legs to switch on.
“I was feeling very confident, because top-six to qualify was very doable, and it was a tough heat, I’ll give it that, but I should have been in that top six.
“I definitely should have - I’m as good as all these girls – and I just didn’t. I didn’t even fathom not getting out of the rounds.
“My legs just wouldn’t turn on, and I was sitting there comfortably thinking “two laps to go, this is great”.
“I’m as fast as any of these girls, if not faster. And then nothing, just nothing.”
The Portaferry athlete said her build-up had not been affected by any issues coming into these World Championships.
“Everything’s been going good. I don’t know what the story is. I’m not here looking for an excuse, and I knew I could make it through that round, so I have no excuses. None.”