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Kirk clinches shot at Games glory

By Russell Pritchard

Lagan Valley's Katie Kirk booked her place on the NI Commonwealth Games team at the weekend with a superb personal best time in her 800 metres race at the BMC Grand Prix meeting at Watford.

The 20-year-old QUB student almost secured victory in a high-quality race but she was just pipped on the line by British international Alison Leonard, who was timed at 2 minutes 2.85 seconds. Katie recorded 2.02.97, which is .061 seconds faster than her previous best and well within the Glasgow Games qualification mark of 2.03.50.

Katie took some notable scalps, including GB'S third-placed Shelaya Oskan-Clarke. The Holywood woman is now within striking distance of Amanda Crowe's Northern Ireland record of 2.01.83 set back in 1998.

Afterwards, Katie said: "I was really pleased with that run as the plan was to get the Games qualification time. Conditions were good with little breeze and I might have won if I had moved to the outside through the home straight.

"The pressure to qualify has now been lifted and I will now concentrate on my Queen's exams before racing again over 800 in mid June."

In the same meeting, Ballymena's Christine McMahon also qualified for the Glasgow Games in the 400 metres hurdles when she recorded a huge PB of 57.63 seconds to finish fourth and reach the standard of 57.90 seconds.

Ireland's top high hurdler Ben Reynolds proved his fitness in Loughborough with an impressive 13.79 seconds time, which is his fourth fastest ever.

Belfast Telegraph

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