Mageean opens her indoor season with impressive win over 3,000m in Manchester

Olatunde improves on the Irish under-23 60m record he clocked two weeks ago

Ciara Mageean: she  won a terrific sprint for the line over the last lap in Manchester, clawing back the long-time breakaway leader Luiza Gega of Albania. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ciara Mageean: she won a terrific sprint for the line over the last lap in Manchester, clawing back the long-time breakaway leader Luiza Gega of Albania. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Quickly blowing the cobwebs off her winter hiatus, Ciara Mageean opened her indoor season with an impressive victory over 3,000m at the World Indoor Tour meeting in Manchester, moving closer to the 13 year-old Irish record in the process.

Now based out of Manchester with Team New Balance, Mageean won a terrific sprint for the line over the last lap, clawing back the long-time breakaway leader Luiza Gega of Albania. Mageean clocked 8:47.23, improving her best by a second and moving closer again to the Irish record of 8:43.74, set by Mary Cullen in 2009

Gega took second in 8:47.53, Ireland’s Sarah Healy also in contention going into the last lap before stumbling in a minor melee, stepping off the track at that stage.

Former European champion Meraf Bahta of Sweden was fifth in 8:56.51 as seven runners broke nine minutes – the bonus for Mageean being it qualifies her for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March.

“I really wanted an Irish record but didn’t get it today,” said Mageean. “But it’s always hard to tell what kind of shape you’re in during the first race of the season. I train here and Vicente (Modahl, the meet organiser) has done a fantastic job putting it on.”

At the same meeting Georgie Clarke took third in the 1,500m, running 4:14.06, with Luke McCann taking fifth in the men’s race, running 3:43.88, Britain’s Piers Copeland taking the win there in 3:42.14.

Israel Olatunde continued his excellent start to the indoor season, the 19-year-old improving again the Irish under-23 60m record he clocked two weeks ago, running 6.64 seconds in round two of the National Indoor League in Athlone.

That improved his 6.67 run in Abbotstown, leaving Olatunde just .03 shy of Paul Hession’s Irish senior record of 6.61 set back in 2007; it also puts him within touching distance of the qualifying time for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, that target being 6.63.

Good form

In the US, Rhasidat Adeleke also continued her good form by setting a new Irish under-23 record over 400m, her time of 52.61 bettered by only two other Irish women, and the 19-year-old Adeleke followed that up with a 52.3 split in the 4x400m relay just 90 minutes later.

Competing indoors in South Carolina, Eric Favour also improved his own Irish indoor shot put record, taking it to 19.84m from 19.68m, while at a Lyon meeting in France, Hiko Tonosa took second in the 3,000m in 7:56.24.

Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and England’s Zak Mahamed won the women’s and men’s races at the Northern Ireland International Cross Country just outside Belfast, Ireland’s Dean Casey taking second in the under-20 race, with Emma McEvoy third in the women’s under-20 race, leading the team to bronze medals too.

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