Ciara Mageean has been forced to withdraw from this weekend’s National Athletics Championships in Santry after contracting Covid-19. “My focus is on getting fit and healthy again ahead of a big summer of racing,” she wrote on Instagram.
It had been a promising start to the season for Mageean before the latest interruption. She clocked 1:59.86 for 800m in Belfast last month before going on to finish fourth over 1500m at two Diamond League meetings in Birmingham and Rome.
Mageean is currently qualified for three major championships which take place across a five-week period in July and August: the World Championships in Oregon, the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the Europeans in Munich. It’s understood she may bypass next month’s World Championships to improve her chances at the latter two events, both of which she would go into as a medal contender.
The 30-year-old Portaferry native was a world finalist at 1500m in 2019 and won a European bronze medal in 2016, but faced bitter disappointment at the Tokyo Olympics, a torn calf leaving her well below her best as she trailed in 10th in her 1500m heat.
“I want to wish every athlete the best of luck this coming weekend,” she wrote. “And here is to a special 150th Irish National Track and Field Championships.”
Meanwhile in better news for the event, Thomas Barr will take to his marks after recovering from recent injury troubles, the 2016 Olympic finalist going in search of his 11th national title in the 400m hurdles. Barr finished third in two 400m hurdles races in mid-May, dipping under 50 seconds in both, before he had to withdraw from a number of planned events due to issues with his achilles tendon.
The action begins at Morton Stadium at 1:30pm on Saturday and at 1pm on Sunday, with the entire event live streamed on Athletics Ireland’s YouTube channel and live coverage on RTÉ One from 6:05pm on Sunday.