Mageean is on her way to Rio as benchmark time changes

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An IAAF decision to lower the qualifying standard for the women’s 1500m event means that Ciara Mageean will compete at the Olympic Games in Rio next year.

The benchmark has been moved from 4:06.00 to 4:07.00 quite simply because too few athletes were making the former qualifying time.

Northern Ireland athlete Mageean twice ran under 4:07.00 in Italy in September, as she brought her personal best down to 4:06.49 - a time easily within the new benchmark for Rio.

It is a huge boost for the Portaferry woman, 23, who has suffered an injury-affected few of years. However, her form over recent months indicated that she was on course to qualify for the Olympics in Brazil.

A personal best performance recorded in Rovereto earlier this year cut .05 seconds off her Northern Ireland record.

Mageean won a superb world junior 1500m silver medal in 2010 but her hopes of competing at the London Olympics in 2012 were ended by a foot injury.

An injury in her other foot caused her to miss this year’s European Indoor Championships in March.