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Women in Sport

22nd Aug 2023

“I did it as best as I could” – Mageean heartbroken but proud after agonising fourth place finish

Niall McIntyre

Ciara Mageean was distraught but proud after an agonising fourth place finish in the world 1500m final.

The Portaferry woman ran the race of her life in Budapest against some of the best athletes the sport has ever seen.

Faith Kipyegon is the best female distance runner there has ever been, Sifan Hassan is right up there in that conversation too but as she proved on Tuesday night at Hungary National athletics centre, Ciara Mageean is not far behind them.

She is at home in this company.

It’s said that fourth is the most difficult place to finish but if nothing else, Mageean proved that she belongs at this level.

Mageean was in third place at the bell but was eventually passed by the brilliant Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan down the back.

Mageean battled hard up the home straight but Hassan had too much and so the Irish athlete had to make do with fourth, albeit with the consolation of a PB and another national record of 3.56.61.

She fell to her knees not long after finishing. She had left everything out on that track.

Afterwards, in typical Ciara Mageean style, she gave as sporting interview as you could expect to see from a heartbroken athlete.

“To be disappointed with fourth in the world is probably a good thing, but I came into this championship with an aim, knowing that I had a chance of a medal. Probably feeling the best I’d ever felt going into a championship.

“To come away with fourth is so bittersweet.

“So I’ll probably go away and have a wee bit of a cry. But honestly, I’ve had the season of my life. Many years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of fourth in the world at senior level.”

“I just know that I have it. It’s there,” she added.

“We’ve got another year ’til the Olympics. First European back. I just have a few African scalps to take off next. I’m putting myself up in a fighting place, challenging the best in the world.

“I ran the race perfectly, I did as best as I could, as my mummy always says, all you can do is your best, so I have to walk away with my head held high. But I am disappointed not to have a medal around my neck and see the tricolour raised. But that dream lives on.”

A true measure of Mageean was the way she thanked her team in the immediate aftermath of the race.

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Ciara Mageean