Olympics

Day 9: Flanagan Runs Huge PB As Mageean S. Healy & P. Healy Set For Exciting Day

Two-time Olympian Michelle Finn and U23 European Cross Country Championships team silver medallist, Eilish Flanagan, were the first of Team Ireland’s track athletes in action on Day 9. In swelting heat, Flanagan produced the fastest run of her career to finish 12th while Michelle Finn crossed over in 9:36.26 to finish 9th.


For Tyrone’s Eilish Flanagan it was a dream Olympic debut. Running 9:34.86, a new personal best by nearly 6 seconds, there’s not much more she could have asked for. The 24-year-old moved up to 3rd on the All-Time Irish List and clocked the new Northern Irish record in the process. Flanagan was impressive as she stayed in touch with the leading group throughout.

Speaking after the race, Flanagan was clearly delighted with her run. The runner who is ranked 55 in the world, qualified for the Games through the rankings. She had to compete in several races leading up to the Games to ensure her qualification and feared mental and physical fatigue would have more of an impact.

'To PB here in these conditions on this stage, to a lot of people that wouldn't be enough, but I'm decently happy with that'
Eilish Flanagan on her #Olympics debut#tokyo2020 #RTESport #athletics

📺 Watch – https://t.co/lLKXNhKPkF

📱 Report – https://t.co/RbczseSne5 pic.twitter.com/cVUrQWAAUq

— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) August 1, 2021

Flanagan said, ” Like honestly I would like to finish higher but to be honest I’m like pretty happy with that. To PB here in these conditions on this stage, to a lot of people that wouldn’t be enough, but I’m decently happy with that.

“To finally run a PB that I think I’m well capable of running, yeah I’m decently happy.

It really excites me for that to be my first performance on the world stage. It makes me believe a bit more that I belong there, so I’m looking forward to the next opportunity on a stage like that.”


For two-time Olympian Michelle Finn, it was more of a frustrating race. It wasn’t quite what she would have hoped for, running 9:36.26 – well off her 9:29.25 personal best. Speaking after the race, Finn said, “I didn’t go when I needed to go. I don’t know why I’m not sadder, I 100 per cent think I can run at least 10 seconds faster and I think I could do that tomorrow. There’s frustration, but I think I’m taking this one better than usual.”

Finn was racing in the fastest of the heats and had to deal with a strung-out field. It was however an impressive last 800m and she recorded her fastest time at a major championship to date.

COMING UP

The action on the track continues for Team Ireland in the early hours of Monday morning. Ciara Mageean and Sarah Healy will be making their first appearances at these Games as they go in the 1500M.

Ciara Mageean

Mageean, who made the semi-finals stage in Rio will be first of the Irish in action, going in heat 1 of the 1500m at 1.35am (Irish time). The City of Lisburn athlete comes here full of confidence having posted a 4.02.48 in early July as part of her preparation for Tokyo.

Mageean made the World Championship final in 2019 (the first Irishwoman to do so since Sonia O’Sullivan in 1997) and will once again be setting her sights on mixing it with the world’s best.

The depth of 1500m running will likely mean that claiming one of the 6 automatic qualifying spots without expending too much energy will be difficult, but Mageean will be focused on doing just that as she bids to make another major final. The next 6 fastest (q) will also advance from the 3 heats to the semi-finals on Wednesday afternoon.

It will be a tough heat with the competition likely to come from Laura Muir (PB 3:55.22) , Freweyni Gebreezibeher (PB 3:56.28), An Cory McGee (PB 4:00.67       ) and Gabriela Debues-Stafford (PB 4:00.46).


Sarah Healy

Running in heat 3, is the current national 1500M champion, Sarah Healy. She will go at at 1.59am.

Healy has continued to progress from her double European Youth Championship titles (1500m/3000m) in 2018, and her recent performances under the guidance of coach Eoghan Marnell have seen the 20-year-old UCD athlete clock a 4.07.12 personal best last month to move to 6th on the Irish all-time list.

It’s likely that a personal best performance will be required if Healy is to progress to the semi-final stage.

Sarah Healy

Running in heat 3, is the current national 1500M champion, Sarah Healy. She will go at at 1.59am.

Healy has continued to progress from her double European Youth Championship titles (1500m/3000m) in 2018, and her recent performances under the guidance of coach Eoghan Marnell have seen the 20-year-old UCD athlete clock a 4.07.12 personal best last month to move to 6th on the Irish all-time list.

It’s likely that a personal best performance will be required if Healy is to progress to the semi-final stage.

Phil Healy

Finally, Olympic and European Indoor finalist Phil Healy will be back at the Olympic Stadium for her 200m heat from 3.10am. Healy, who was part of the historic mixed 4 x 400m relay team who competed in the final on Saturday will go in the 6th heat as she looks to continue her superb Tokyo 2020 journey.

The Irish record holder over 100m (11:28, 2018) and ranked second over 200m, was just pipped for a 400m medal at this year’s European Indoors, and coach Shane McCormack will no doubt have the 14-time national champion ready to use all of her big race experience as she bids to make it to the next round.

Qualifying will be exceptionally tough, with the first 3 in each heat (Q) and the next 3 fastest (q) advancing to the Semi-finals. 100M Olympic champion Elain Thompson-Herah is in Healy’s heat and it’s likely that 23.00 is going to be needed to progress in this heat.

8th in the OLYMPIC FINAL 🤩🤩
Words can’t describe the feelings experienced in the last two days!The 1st Irish relay team to make an Olympic final!🙌🏻My Focus now moves to my individual campaign. First up is the 200m on Monday(from 2.30am Irish time🙈)before the 400m on Tuesday
😊 pic.twitter.com/ogCNOyng8A

— Phil Healy (@philhealy2) July 31, 2021

Team Eventing

It was a day of mixed results for the eventing team after today’s Cross Country performances as they lie in 8th position on a score of 161.00 heading into tomorrow’s final phase of Show Jumping.

Best of the Irish was Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue (SHBGB), who stormed around the track with an impressive clear round inside of the time allowed – one of only seven competitors to do so. O’Connor and the Irish-bred 12-year-old grey, head into the final Show Jumping phase tomorrow on their dressage score of 38.00 and in 20th place.


Team members Sam Watson and Sarah Ennis both picked up faults on the tough track that nine competitors didn’t complete. Watson and Tullabeg Flamenco (ISH) were extremely unlucky to knock a frangible pin, automatically picking up 11 penalties. The safety feature is a deformable device which will cause a cross-country fence to collapse and are designed to prevent rotational falls. Watson also picked up two time penalties on the course. Adding this to their dressage score from Friday leaves them in 31st position on a score of 47.30.

#Equestrian

XC phase is now complete. Standings are as follows:

☘️ 20th Austin O’Connor – 38.00
☘️ 31st Sam Watson – 47.30
☘️ 39th Sarah Ennis – 75.70

➡️Team total: 161
🐴 Team placing: 8th#TeamIreland #Tokyo2020 #EquestrianDressage #IRL @HorseSportIRL pic.twitter.com/xqEebDLnsN

— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) August 1, 2021

Sarah Ennis and her mount Horseware Woodcourt Garrison (ISH) also picked up jumping and time penalties on the track. Around the midway point of the course, Ennis experienced steering difficulty with the 12-year-old gelding after a large drop to a skinny. The run out also resulted in the pair having multiple time penalties and taking some longer routes to get home.

 “I felt as we came to the drop and down to the skinny, where he ran out, he got really hard on my right rein and he ran down that hill. For love nor money I couldn’t turn him,” Ennis said. “It is really unfortunate. I was very lucky to get him home. He felt very empty and heavy. I say he will bounce back, he is a tough one and will come back fighting tomorrow. He is fairly hardy but the humidity got to him today.”


HerSport Editor

Her Sport is a platform giving girls and women a voice in sport. Our mission is to level the playing field through increasing visibility, education and creating a cultural shift.
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