It was another busy morning at the Olympic Stadium for Irish athletes, with Ciara Mageean and Sarah Healy in action in the first round of the Women’s 1500m heats, while Phil Healy was in action in the heats of the Women’s 200m.
Two-time European bronze medallist, Ciara Mageean and two-time European U18 gold medallist Sarah Healy, finished 10th and 11th respectively in their heats. Both runners fell outside of the automatic qualification positions, with their times not quick enough to take one of the six non-automatic spots.
For Mageean, it was a case of what could have been. The Portaferry runner gave herself every chance of qualifying as she put herself right in the mix for an automatic qualification spot. From the get go, Mageean tactically placed herself within the leading pack and was sitting in second place after the first lap.
Looking comfortable in fifth place with 300M to go, it was then when things started to change. With the pace starting to pick up and the likes of Laura Muir starting to make a move, Mageean strangely had nothing left. The 29-year-old started to look uncomfortable on final closing bend and had was overtaken and outpaced by the rest of the group.
After the race, Mageean revealed that she had “a rocky week” in the build-up to the event and it was later revealed that she tore her calf eight days ago.
“I’m feeling disappointed to say the least,” said Mageean afterwards. “Anybody who’s seen me racing over the last number of years knows that I’m a tough competitor, I know I am, and whenever I put my Irish vest on I raise my game, and that was sub-par for me today.”
I tried my best but it wasn't good enough to be in the top six. I'm annoyed. I put it all in.
"I didn't have an ideal week leading into it. I'm not one for sharing the troubles that arise. But it wasn't ideal. I picked up a little bit of a niggle and I wonder did it take the edge off."
In the end, Mageean was just three spots away from qualifying with a time of 4:07.29 (27th).
‘It was definitely disappointing. I think I let the occasion get to me’ - Olympic debutant @sarah_healy_ says she struggled in the final lap of her 1500m heat #tokyo2020 #RTESport #athletics
📺 Watch – https://t.co/ZfldwHUA2l
📱 Report - https://t.co/3rR5EHQHOW pic.twitter.com/9x1NE8KHIW
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 2, 2021
A few minutes later, one of the youngest members of Team Ireland, Sarah Healy, was hoping to sneak into one of the final qualification spots and needed to go close to her personal best to do so. In the end it wasn’t to be as Healy crossed over in a time of 4:09.78. Healy tried to put herself in the mix but wasn’t able to hang on to a far more experienced field.
Healy was critical of her own performance, demonstrating the high bar she has set despite qualifying for the Games as an outsider.
“Everybody says that they’ll be back next time, but I’m here now, and I felt like I could make a semi-final if I ran to my potential. Obviously I want to be back for Paris but it’s not going to take away from the disappointment I have today.”
A season’s best of 23.21 for Phil Healy in the women’s 200m heats as she finished in fifth, but not enough to qualify for semi-finals. pic.twitter.com/pYf3FNKv0Z
— Kieran McCarthy (@KieranMcC_SS) August 2, 2021
In her 200m Heat, Phil Healy produced a Season’s Best performance of 23.21 to finish 5th in her heat, which also featured recently-crowned 100m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica. It was an impressive performance from the Cork athlete, following on from two fantastic relay performances at the weekend. Unfortunately, she finished just three places outside of a time qualifier position. She returns to the track tomorrow for round one of the 400m.
Speaking afterwards, Healy acknowledged that she didn’t have the luxury of fresh legs this morning, saying: “It is disappointing initially but I went out there and gave it my all, and it is a seasons best. I knew I was coming in in PB shape, but obviously there is going to be that fatigue factor with the two relay rounds before this.”