Ciara Mageean still has a point to prove at the Commonwealth Games and is set to strike after winning her 1500m race to qualify for Sunday’s final.
Mageean, 30, clocked 4:13.52 to finish just over two tenths ahead of Scotland’s Laura Muir, an Olympic silver medalist and big favorite who placed fifth.
The two-time European medalist captained Northern Ireland Athletics on the Gold Coast in 2018 but could only muster a disappointing 13th place finish after taking 10th place at Delhi 2010 as a teenager during his first senior international competition.
Mageean said, “I’m happy with that. The goal was to qualify for the final, so the job is done.
“I have a medal chance and I’m confident in that, and I feel like I have some work to do at the Commonwealth Games.
“I was disappointed not to have done better last time. I was a tiny youngster in my very first Games, then I had a tough second Commonwealth Games, so I feel like I’m in the best place for this one.
“The goal is to get gold – let Laura [Muir] to know!”
This summer, the Northern Ireland team, supported by funds raised by National Lottery players, will bring together over 100 athletes, all vying for a medal.
Mageean has experience in her corner under new coach Helen Clitheroe who won bronze in the same event for England 20 years ago.
The Portaferry runner has had a torrid time with injury, tearing her calf twice in the past year, behind her and arrived in Birmingham in good contact after two Diamond League fourth places.
And with plenty of support in the bouncing Alexander Stadium, Mageean hopes to finally give her best on the Commonwealth stage.
She added: “I know my speed is there and I put in one of the best training blocks with my new trainer Helen.
“It’s nice to have her expertise as she has at many Commonwealth Games.
“The crowd is phenomenal here in Birmingham, I’m surprised. I don’t know if I’ve ever raced in front of such an incredible crowd, so I’m looking forward to the final day.
Megan Marrs has set her sights on breaking Northern Ireland’s 100m hurdles record after failing in the Commonwealth Games final.
Marrs clocked a season-best 13.37, but it wasn’t enough to clear a run won by England’s Cindy Sember.
However, the 24-year-old said she could take a lot of positives after overcoming two hurdles and still posting a time within a tenth of the record.
She said: ‘I was nervous so I’m not usually one to jump over hurdles but when I did I recovered well so can’t complain about that, I’m happy .
“It’s a huge season record with more than two tenths of a second. If I’m clearing two hurdles and I’m less than a tenth by 10 a.m., it’s time to find a few more runs.
“I’m definitely not going to finish the season now because I know the Northern Ireland record is there.”
Marrs was hoping for a great performance after finally shaking off the Achilles and hamstring issues that plagued her after the indoor world where she represented Great Britain earlier this year.
She explained: “I was expecting that because my training has been going well for the past few weeks that I’m back pain free which is most important as I haven’t done it since April.
“It was deafening there when Cindy and I were introduced. I think it’s a once in a lifetime experience to have this kind of degree on your doorstep and I loved every minute of it.
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