‘Desperately disappointed’ - Ciara Mageean misses out on final

Irish 1,500m runner is unable to find a way into the final after falling away on Sunday

She put herself in a position to make the Olympic 1,500 metres final, but she just couldn't quite hold it, Ciara Mageean run out of the qualifying places over the last 200 metres, though not through any lack of determination or indeed ambition.

With only the top five sure of progressing, Mageean knew exactly what she needed to do - and went about it, running comfortably at the front of the pack from the gun.

Then, when it came to the final lap burn up, she held it too - still in fourth as they hit the 200m to go mark, just as the Kenyan Faith Kipyegon kicked hard from the front.

Then, one by one, runners started to pass her, and clearly digging hard and struggling for strength, she faded back to finish 11th, clocking 4:08.07, with Kipyegon taking the win in 4:03.95.


“Desperately disappointed, to be honest,” she said, extremely hard on herself, it turned out, despite such a courageous effort. “I really wanted to be first Irish woman to make the 1,500m final.”

In truth there could be no regret, as there’s nothing she could have done any differently: there is no such thing as an easy route into an Olympic 1,500 metres final, especially not for an athlete making their Olympic debut, and coming off nearly four years injury.

And it’s not often an Irish athlete displays such composure and confidence either, especially in her Olympic debut, as Mageean covered and then made all the moves up to the 200m mark.

And just like her first round heat, she displayed composure and confidence beyond her years, clearly believed she had the ability to make it. In the future she will no doubt prove she can.

“I feel sorry for everybody back home, that I didn’t give them an Irish finalist. I know I have all the talent to make the final, and I promise to make it next time round. Everything in life you have to learn from, but right now I am just bitterly disappointed. I’ll work my heart and my legs off to win many more medals for Ireland. You can be sure of that.”

For now the 24 year-old Down woman proved one thing: she has exceptional determination and it’s only a matter of time before that turns into more success, to build on her European Championship bronze earlier this summer.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics