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Aidan Walsh cruises into Commonwealth Quarter-Finals with comfortable win over Arena Pakela


Aidan Walsh lands a punch on Arena Pakela

Aidan Walsh lands a punch on Arena Pakela

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Aidan Walsh lands a punch on Arena Pakela

Belfast’s Aidan Walsh is one win away from at least a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games after dominating Arena Pakela in his 71kg last-16 tie.

The 25-year-old was barely tested in his first fight since winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympics last year as he swept aside Lesotho’s Pakela to reach the last-eight.

Walsh was awarded a 5-0 unanimous points victory, looking cool and composed as he did so, and he will be full of confidence as he looks to go one step further than his silver medal on the Gold Coast.

He will have a much sterner test in the Quarter-Finals, though, as he will take on England’s Harris Akbar, the reigning European amateur champion, on Thursday – with a win guaranteeing him at least bronze.

Eugene McKeever will hope to follow in his footsteps later on this evening when he faces Zambia’s Stephen Zimba in the 67kg category, with a place in the Quarters up for grabs there too.

In the Athletics, Kate O’Connor is fourth after the first two events of the heptathlon as she set a new personal best in the 100m hurdles, finishing fourth after a time of 13.74 seconds.

That, combined with also finishing fourth in the high jump, has her just outside the podium places, with England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson leading the way from fellow countrywoman Holly Mills.

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Northern Ireland’s Anna McCauley is currently seventh in the eight-woman field having finished sixth in the high jump and seventh in the 100m hurdles.

And despite setting a personal best time of her own of 14.04 seconds, Eve Walsh Dann was unable to qualify for the Final of the T37/38 100m.

Meanwhile, in the Swimming, Daniel Wiffen qualified for the Final of the 1500m Freestyle as he came through his heat in second place with a time of 15:37.53, the fifth fastest qualifying time across the two heats.

Danielle Hill also qualified for the Semi-Finals of the 50m Backstroke after posting a time of 28.32 in her heat, but Grace Davison missed out, as did Mollie McAlorum despite winning her heat.

On the Judo mat, all three of Rachael Hawkes, Joshua Green and Eoin Fleming will have bronze medal bouts at Coventry Arena this evening.

Hawkes will take on England’s Katie-Jemima Yeats-Brown in the 70kg category, Green’s bout is against Australia’s Jake Bensted in the 73kg, while Fleming’s 81kg opponent is another Australian in Uros Nikolic.

Elsewhere, Ewan McAteer finished sixth in the men’s Vault Final, where England’s Jake Jarman continued his incredible run of form with his fourth gold medal of the Games.

At the Lawn Bowls, there was disappointment for the Northern Irish Men’s Pairs duo of Sam Barkley and Martin McHugh as they lost their Bronze Medal match to Scotland's Paul Foster and Alex Marshall, 25-5.

In the Men's Singles, Gary Kelly defeated the Norfolk Islands’ Ryan Dixon 21-12 in his opening Section B match.

And in the Wheelchair Basketball, Northern Ireland finished fifth after they defeated South Africa 10-7 in their fifth-sixth play-off match.

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