Belfast Telegraph

Kate throws off the winter to smash NI junior javelin record


By Brian Hill

Commonwealth Games-bound Kate O'Connor continued her record spree when she set a new NI Junior javelin record yesterday at a Winters Throws competition in Loughborough.

The 17-year old broke Laura Kerr's 14-year-old record three times to set new figures of 48.61 metres which beat's the previous record by over three metres.

In the big Grand Prix meeting in Glasgow, Belfast's Megan Marrs finished fifth in her heat in her fourth fastest time of 8.27 seconds. She will now compete in this weekend's World Championships in Birmingham.

Derry's Adam McMullen was seventh in the long jump with 7.79 metres which was some way below his recent NI record of 7.99 metres. Former Olympian Greg Rutherford was fourth with 7.89 metres.

Dromore's Rebekah Nixon and Declan Reed of City of Derry Spartans were decisive unexpected winners of the NI and Ulster Senior Cross Country titles at Lurgan Park where a record 400 athletes experienced surprisingly firm, fast conditions.

Dromore 19-year-old Nixon was the major surprise in the Women's 6k, though there were earlier warning signs of her talent when she was the leading local finisher in the Greenmount International. The Exeter University medical science student was always to the fore and continually challenged last year's winner, Jessica Craig of North Down.

Beechmount's Catherine Diver was 30 metres back with Craig's North Down team-mates in close attendance. On the final lap, Craig was hampered by an ankle twist while Nixon forged ahead to become one of the youngest winners of the Championships in a time of 24 minutes 21 seconds.

North Down's Jessica Craig stormed through the field to take second place in consecutive years in 24.30. An unhappy Craig struggled across the line in third in 24.44, some three secs ahead of team-mate Sarah Lindsay.

The top six again featured the Beechmount pair of Diver (25.02) and Gerri Short (25.26).Once again North Down dominated the team event with 18 points ahead of Lagan Valley (68) .

A euphoric Nixon who had left Exeter at 3 am that morning to get to Antrim said; "I am very blessed as it has been a great season for me. Last year I won the Ulster Schools 1,500 and 3,000 metres and am now looking forward to the Inter Counties Cross Country."

There was a 25 year age contrast between female and male winners. However, 44-year-old Declan Reed proved that age is no barrier assuming the body stays injury free.

The City of Derry man, who won at this venue three years ago, bided his time for over half of the 12k event behind leaders Mark McKinstry of North Belfast and Springwell's Neill Johnston. Double defending champion Aaron Doherty of City of Derry was some way back in fourth.

Reed made his move with two miles remaining and broke clear for an easy victory in 41 minutes 40 seconds some 13 seconds ahead of a despairing McKinstry who had to settle for second for the fourth successive year.

Early joint leader Johnston was third in 42.02 while fourth went to disappointed previous winner Doherty (43.05). The top six was completed by Seamus Lynch (43.08) and Foyle's Chris McGuiness (43.10).

City of Derry again dominated the team event with 41 points ahead of North Belfast (100 points).

An extremely pleased Reed said: "I did feel that I had a chance to win again.

"I couldn't stay with the leaders but I felt they were going too fast and would come back. I am fully fit again and will compete next in the Reading Half Marathon."

Belfast Telegraph


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