COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Ciara Mageean out but team going well

Northern Ireland's Leon Reid
Northern Ireland's Leon Reid

After Leon Reid’s bronze medal success Northern Ireland team captain Ciara Mageean ended her Commonwealth Games in the semi-finals of the 800 metres battling her way to seventh place in a time of 2:03.30.

In - according to records, the quickest 800m qualifying round in Games history - the 26-year-old from Portaferry admitted there was little more that could have been accomplished following her previous run to the 1500m final earlier in the week.

“I’m slightly disappointed,” she said. “I gave my all in those 1500s. I was fighting in that. I prepared myself for both but this was hard stepping out here.

“It was either going to be really fast or slow and steady and I’d prepared myself for both. But when it stepped up, they went away.

“But I feel a lot more confident coming out of this than I did last year.

“ I have to thank Steve Vernon my coach for getting me geared up for this and to my former coach Jerry Kiernan for all the work he put in as well.

“I’m benefitting from both of them now and I’m looking forward to going for the Europeans.”

Kate O’Connor, the youngest member of NI’s athletics team had an excellent Day One in the heptathlon, sitting in ninth place overnight with 3318 points.

The teen opened up with a run of 14.99 secs in the 100m hurdles and then equalled her personal best of 1.78 metres in the high jump.

Later, she threw 11.97m in the shot before running the 200m in 25.26 seconds to finish fourth in Heat 1. She will resume in the long jump on Friday (0130, GMT).

“I was pretty happy,” O’Connor said.

“My high jump was a bit shaky but I managed to pulled it together to equal my PB. I would have liked to though further in the shot put but the 200m felt I pretty good run.

“But I’d like to come out on Day 2 and perform well.”

Meanwhile Adam Kirk Smith admits he’s been inspired by a late running icon as he heads into today’s 3000m steeplechase final.

The 27-year-old from Lisburn, who has two degrees in anthropology, has put his academic life on hold as well as a sideline in sailing the ocean waves.

But he claims the work of Sir Roger Bannister, who passed away last month, make him believe he can juggle both careers.

“His achievements made an enormous impact on the public awareness of athletics and inspired so many people.

“More than that, his role in medical practice and research is something people are less aware of, and when interviewed about his greatest achievement he spoke about that, not his sport.

“His life is an example that if we commit ourselves with that same application to something outside sport,” he added.

Emma Mitchell, fresh from setting a Northern Ireland record in the 10,000m final earlier this week, will compete in the 5,000 final early tomorrow

Sommer Lecky now has a direct pass into tomorrow’s high jump final after the qualifying phase was removed.

“I want to compete to the best of my ability,” the 17-year-old from Co. Tyrone said.

And Cameron Orr was the top finisher for Northern Ireland on the Nerang Mountain Bike Trails today at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. Marc Potts finished 18th in the same race, after switching his focus from the track to the trails for the day.

While Potts has recently been more accustomed to the smooth fast track in a Velodrome, he relished the opportunity to test himself on the trails.

“The mountain bike race was unreal,” described a still buzzing Potts after the race, “that’s the best atmosphere I’ve had at a race since I used to do downhill.

“Nothing can compare with it. Everyone was going crazy at the side of the track.”

The 32.2km race was won by New Zealand’s U23 Cross-Country World Champion Samuel Gaze in a time of 1 hour 17.36. Teammate Anton Cooper won silver and South Africa’s Alan Hatherly was third.

“From the gun four guys just rode off – the good guys like Sam Gaze rode off with other world cup riders, so I was left with guys of a decent level.

“They were still guys who had done world cups, but I knew I wasn’t competing to win, so I was just trying to enjoy myself, and it was brilliant,” Potts explained after the race.

The focus for the 26-year-old was to enjoy the racing – “I really, really enjoyed it, so glad I did it,” he admitted,

“It was amazing, I was glad I was able to still do it again, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to ride the mountain bike fast. I was still alright. I wasn’t top level, but was still good enough to enjoy it. It was great,” added Potts.

“Everyone was going crazy at the side of the track. And there’s a section there at the bottom of the course with loads of jumps – there were loads of people going crazy wanting people to do the jumps.”