Ciara Mageean says Rio plans won't change despite qualification

Ciara Mageean improved her Northern Ireland 1500m record
Ciara Mageean improved her Northern Ireland 1500m record in Italy in September

Ciara Mageean says her training and racing plans for 2016 haven't changed despite having almost certainty booked her spot at the Rio Olympics.

The Portaferry woman received an unexpected boost last week when the Rio 1500m qualifying standard was amended to four minutes and seven seconds.

Mageean twice ran under 4:07.00 last summer with her personal best 4:06.49.

"I was over the moon when I heard and while it takes a bit of pressure off, it doesn't change things," she said.

"My whole season next year is planned around training and racing to make myself as fit as I can be.

"I'm going to follow those plans just the same but it means I can enter races with the security of knowing that I have the IAAF A standard and hopefully Olympic qualification.

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Irish athlete Ciara Mageean thrilled by Rio standard news

"Next year, I'm going to be wanting to run faster and faster. I'll run (under) 4:06 next year. That's my aim."

The International Olympic Committee has still to officially ratify the new IAAF qualifying marks in several events but that is expected to be a formality, which will ensure Mageean's Rio spot.

Mageean, 23, was out of action for nearly two seasons from the summer of 2012 as she battled against an ankle injury which effectively ended her hopes of qualifying for the London Olympics.

"I was unlucky enough to have a few years burdened by injury and it's great to be able to pull through after all that.

"I narrowly missed qualifying for London after running the B standard. That was bitterly disappointing for me so Rio was my next big goal," adds Mageean, who is now coached in Dublin by 1984 Olympic Jerry Kiernan.

After spending six days at home over Christmas, the UCD student heads to the Algarve on 30 December for a 10-day warm-weather training stint.

Following that, Mageean is planning to have a brief indoor season as she continues her build-up towards next summer's games.

"My fitness is very good at the minute although it's early season yet and I'm getting through my winter training.

"I've a bit to go yet but I'm feeling good and healthy and injury-free."

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