Down native Ciara Mageean has become the first Irish woman to run a sub two-minute 800m, setting a new national record of 1:59.69 in Bern, Switzerland.
A native of Portaferry, Mageean opened her campaign with a gold medal win, in what was her first competitive race since February. Crossing the finish line, she did so with more than a second to spare ahead of Norway's Hyenne Hedda who finished with a time of 2:00.72.
The Down star who also holds the Northern Ireland record, now takes the Irish record, which was previously held by Rose-Anne Galligan. (2:00.58) which was set at the London Anniversary Games in 2013.
Yesterday was meant to mark the Opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games with Tokyo due to be flooded with thousands of spectators waving their nations flag. Instead the Games will be rescheduled for the Summer of 2021.
"I am absolutely delighted. With the disappointment of everything this year, Olympics postponed and lockdown for months, my coach, my team mates and I put our heads down and worked hard," Mageean tweeted after the race.
"Devastated I won't run for Ireland this year but I'll continue to work and build on this for 2021 and beyond. Only the beginning of the few races I'll run this season but I'm so grateful for the support of my coach, team mates and everyone back home."
Her victory today has sent wishes flowing in from top Irish athletes such as Sonia O’Sullivan and David Gillick.
Congratulations @ciaramageean first Irish woman sub 2mins for 800m . 2020 is a year to back yourself and just go for it #backyourself #makeitcount @irishathletics @RTEsport @gregallenRTE pic.twitter.com/FzLFeEx1CF
— sonia osullivan (@soniaagrith) July 24, 2020
— David Gillick (@DavidGillick) July 24, 2020
— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) July 24, 2020