Kate O’Connor exceeded expectations by finishing an impressive eighth in the seven-event heptathlon yesterday.
The Dundalk schoolgirl only turned 17 last Christmas but showed commendable maturity in battling through the events over a two-day period in high temperatures in front of capacity crowds.
At the end of the first day she was in ninth with 3,318 points.
In the first session yesterday O’Connor finished 10th in the long jump with a second round of 5.64m. She had a marginal foul on her third and last jump after attempting to get closer to her PB of over six metres.
O’Connor then excelled in the javelin where she finished second with a first round throw of 46.34m which was her second best after her recent PB of 48.61m.
In the final dreaded 800m O’Connor finished fourth in two minutes 18.30 seconds. This elevated her to eighth, overtaking Australian Alysha Burnett.
This gave her a total of 5,695 points which is only 64 points short of her PB from last year.
The gold was won by England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson with 6,255 points.
O’Connor said: “I am delighted with that. I was possibly more nervous than I should have been but I eventually got used to the crowd and used them to my advantage. I now have much greater confidence that I can perform in the big time.”
Northern Ireland’s Adam Kirk-Smith finished in eighth place — in 8.48.40 — in the steeplechase which was won by Kenya’s Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto in a Games record of 8:10.08.
Multi Irish Junior high jump record holder and Senior champion Sommer Leckey will be in action today.
The Commonwealth Youth champion has had a spectacular indoor season, culminating in an Irish Junior record of 1.86m.
Banbridge’s Emma Mitchell will race in the 5,000m in which she is the NI record holder.
Mitchell broke her own NI record in the 10,000m earlier this week, finishing 15th in 32:49.9.