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'I’m absolutely ecstatic. I’m in a world final — I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight'

Ciara Mageean booked her place in the 1,500m final at the World Athletics Championships on Thursday night.

CIARA MAGEEAN COULD not hide her delight after securing her place in this weekend’s IAFF World Athletics Championships 1,500m final in Doha.

The 27-year-old led from the front early on at the Khalifa International Stadium, but was forced to dig deep in the final lap.

ciara-mageean-finishes-5th-to-qualify-for-the-semi-final Mageean crosses in fifth place at the Khalifa International Stadium. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Following a brilliant, battling performance she finished with a time of 4:15.49, her impressive fifth-pace finish ensuring automatic qualification for Saturday’s showpiece.

In the process Mageean became the first Irish female athlete to secure a World Championships final spot in 22 years, Sonia O’Sullivan last achieving the feat in Athens back in 1997.

“Do you know what? Hearing that, I’m absolutely ecstatic,” Mageean beamed hearing about the significance of her achievement on Thursday night.

“The race — it was a very strange one. Anyone that watches me race knows I’m not really a front-runner when it comes to championships and here I find myself as the front-runner. 

“I just said: ‘that’s grand lads, if you want to let me at the front and nobody wants to take it.’ I knew that if I went up on the shoulder, I’m going to match it and I’m going to make them work very hard to get passed me.

“They didn’t get passed me until around that top end and I just gave everything to the line.”

The Portaferry native clinched bronze at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow back in March and admitted that competition in the women’s 1,500m event has been at an incredibly high standard in recent years.

“Look I have an awful lot of respect for the girls toeing that line with me. The women’s 1,500m is red hot, anybody who follows athletics knows that — this is an era to be running 1,500m.

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“But they have to respect me too and if I’m going to be at the front you’re going to have to battle your life to get past me. I was going to give absolutely everything I had. I was running today like it was my final.”

Mageean said she was looking forward to Saturday’s final in Doha, with this week’s performances giving her an injection of confidence as she targets next summer’s Olympics Games in Tokyo.

“I’m feeling absolutely ecstatic. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight,” she said. “I’m in a world final and everything after this is a bonus. This is a major step for me getting ready for Tokyo in 2020. This is where I want to be.

“If they throw a slow pace at me [in the final], I’m ready. If they throw a fast pace at me, I’m ready. I’m going to run the races in front of me and I’m going to battle to the line. I’m over the moon and I’m going to give it everything.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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