Kate O’Connor in heptathlon medal contention

Kate O’Connor in heptathlon medal contention

Kate O’Connor is snapping at the heels of Katarina Johnson-Thompson after day one of the heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games.

With four disciplines done the Newry multi-eventer sits on 3656 points overnight with the 2019 world champion top of the pile on 3765.

The 21-year-old rounded off with a 200m personal best clocking of 24.73 seconds to leave her with a chance of gold and in a prime medal position.

She said: "I'm so happy with today. It has been a whirlwind of a season.

“I came away from some performances thinking ‘is that where I am’ but I knew my training was going well and I’ve got two PBs as well.

“That’s the best that a 200 run has ever felt in my life.

“Finishing with that 200, I’m buzzing. I need to get prepared for tomorrow, just because I’ve done well today doesn’t mean I’ve got a medal secured, I must come out and perform tomorrow.”

This summer, Team Northern Ireland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, will compromise of over 100 athletes, all vying for medal success.

She is joined the heptathlon competition by team-mate Anna McCauley who ended the day in sixth place with some excellent performances.

Johnson-Thompson topped the pile in the 200m with 23.70s and cleared 1.84 in the high jump, significantly higher than the rest of the field.

The Brit was fifth in the sprint hurdles to start off but found her feet after an interrupted season.

O’Connor excelled in the shot put with a throw of 13.73 putting her top of the standings.

She has had her own fair share of injury problems, but they couldn’t be further from her mind as she shines in front of packed crowds at the Alexander Stadium.

Chasing O’Connor is Australia’s Taneille Crase in bronze medal position with 3604 points and England’s Holly Mills on 3602.

O’Connor said: “It’s tough, going home from a normal heptathlon between days one and two but coming off this sort of crowd and adrenaline is on a completely different level.

“Ice bath, massage, close my eyes and fingers crossed I can get some sleep.

“The organisers have done amazing. This venue, the village, it’s amazing. It’s so well run and I’m so glad to be here.”

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