Local athletes secure prestigious titles on an excellent weekend for local athletics…
The performances of local athletes created a weekend of athletics to remember, with medals at the Para Athletics World Championships, the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas and a new Northern Ireland record at the European Athletics Under 20 Championships in Italy.
Super Sunday as NI athletes secure two golds at Commonwealth Youth Games:
The outstanding performances of Aaron Sexton (North Down AC / Roger Sexton) and Sommer Lecky (Finn Valley AC / Niall Wilkinson) at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas crowned off an epic weekend.
The talented duo both claimed gold on what was a ‘Super Sunday’ for Northern Ireland athletes. NI & Ulster Senior Champion Sommer again bettered the Commonwealth Games standard of 1.82m when she jumped to 1.83m to seal 1st place in the High Jump.
The always impressive Aaron excelled in the 200m, recording 21.93 in qualifying and 21.83 in the semi-final, before emerging as champion with a 21.57 (-1.5) for 1st place in the final.
Anna McCauley (City of Lisburn AC / Maureen McCauley & Tom Reynolds) also performed well in her first major international competition, missing a spot in the 100m hurdles final by just one place when recording her third fastest time ever, 14.26. Beechmount Harriers’ Davicia Patterson (Paul Magee) reached the 400m final with a 55.54 finish in the heats – the NI & Ulster Senior 400m medallist then ran 55.86 for 8th place in the final.
Michael McKillop secures second Para Athletics World Championships Gold:
Michael McKillop (North Belfast Harriers / Paddy McKillop) collected his second gold at this year’s Para Athletics World Championships in London, winning the T37 1500m in 4:36.38; this added to his T38 800m gold.
It proved to be a successful Championships for local athletes, with Jason Smyth (Derry Track Club) picking up gold medals in the T13 100m and 200m events and James Hamilton (Ballymena Runners / Mark Kirk) also impressing in the T20 800m and 1500m, where he finished sixth in both events – this included a 1:59.40 personal best over 800m.
Kate O’Connor breaks NI Senior Heptathlon record and achieves second CWG consideration standard:
16-year-old Kate O’Connor (St Gerard’s AC) once again showed her potential with a top ten finish, a second Commonwealth Games consideration standard and new Northern Ireland Senior Heptathlon record at the European Athletics Under 20 Track & Field Championships.
Kate’s hard work in training alongside her dad and coach Michael O’Connor, and coaching team of Tom Reynolds, Laura Kerr, Adam McMullen and Dessie Gough was rewarded when after two days of competition, which included personal bests in the 800m (2:15.87), Shot Putt (12.90m) and High Jump (1.78m), Kate finished on 5,759 points, a new personal best; this saw the St Gerard’s AC athlete finish in 8th place overall.
During an interview with Athletics Ireland, Kate explained, “I’m delighted with how everything went. Day one was better than I wanted it to be, it was great, and today I had steady performances all day. To finish with 5,700 is just unbelievable. I just want to thank everyone for their support and everything at home.”
City of Lisburn AC’s James Edgar (Heather Ardis) was in action over 5,000m, where he narrowly missed a top ten placing when clocking 15:39.22 for 11th place.
Note: Story compiled for use by Athletics NI.