The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman Award for July
The winner of The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman Award for July 2020 is athlete, Ciara Mageean.
With the sporting world all but grinding to a halt in mid-March The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman awards for April, May went to sportswomen, Kellie Harrington, Orlagh Farmer and Gina Akpe-Moses, who made an impact, in a variety of ways, outside their more familiar fields.
Gradually, though, sport is returning and athlete Ciara Mageean was among those back in competitive action in June when she ran at a meet in Bern, Switzerland.
There she became the first Irish woman to break the two minute barrier in the 800 metres.
Rose-Anne Galligan had held the Irish 800m record, running 2:00.58 in London seven years ago, Mageean’s personal best over the distance a fraction behind at 2.00.79. But the County Down woman produced an exceptional run to clock 1:59.69 to put herself, not for the first time, in the Irish athletics’ history books. She was already the holder of the indoor mile and 1500m records, setting both marks last year.
"I am absolutely delighted,” she tweeted after the race. “With the disappointment of everything this year, Olympics postponed and lock-down for months, my coach, my team mates and I put our heads down and worked hard.”
"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."
At this stage, the 28-year-old should have been fine-tuning her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, hence her presence in Switzerland where she had been in an altitude training camp. Her focus, then, has had to shift to July of next year when, hopefully, the Olympics will take place.
While the postponement of the Games might have left her deflated, not least because, as she said herself, she’s in her prime, and robbed her of motivation to work hard, instead Mageean has been using this strange period to make herself an even better athlete.
Our congratulations then to a worthy winner of The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month for July 2020, athlete Ciara Mageean.