Mageean found wanting in final lap sprint, writes James Sullivan.
There was disappointment for Ireland’s Ciara Mageean this evening at the World Championships in London. The UCD athlete trailed home in 13th place and last of the finishers in heat one of the 1500m, with a time of 4:10.60, almost 8 seconds behind heat winner Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia, who clocked 4:02.67.
“That was just a disaster out there,” remarked a confused Mageean afterwards. “Everybody has seen my season so far and it’s the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I’ve been going from strength to strength. So it’s a shock to go out and run that race so poorly.”
With the top six to qualify for tomorrow’s semi-finals from each of the three heats, along with the six fastest losers, Great Britain’s Jessica Judd set about ensuring a swift early pace to maximise her chances of progressing, covering the first 400m and 800m in 64.53 and 2:11.43. The Portaferry athlete stayed towards the back of the pack throughout the early exchanges, but come the final burn-up over the closing 400m, she didn’t have a change of gear to move through the field and challenge for a qualification spot. However, the Irish 800m champion maintains she felt comfortable despite the quick opening splits and should not have had difficulty progressing.
“I felt good. The early pace was fine. I just made sure to stay out of bother and not get caught up in the early bursts. I was sitting there comfortably thinking with two laps to go that this is great, I’m as fast as any of these girls, if not faster. And then nothing. Absolutely nothing. I just couldn’t get my legs to switch on. I actually can’t even grasp what happened out there today.”
The 2016 European Championship bronze medallist has been in good form this season, with strong showings on the Diamond League circuit, most recently in London last month where she recorded a time of 4:03.57 as an intermediate split in a one mile race, the second fastest 1500m of her career. The 24 year old believed she was in good shape to contend for a place in Monday’s final, and at the very least qualify from this evening’s heat.
“I was feeling very confident. Everything has been going good. I’m not here looking for an excuse. Top six to qualify was very doable. It was a tough heat. I’ll give it that. But I should have been in that top six. I’m as good as all these girls.”
“I didn’t even fathom not making it out of the heats.”