Historic silver for O’Connor at Europeans
Kate O’Connor created history for Irish athletics in Boras, Sweden today by becoming the first ever athlete to win a heptathlon medal at a major championships, the 18-year-old Dundalk St Gerard’s athlete finishing second with a national U-20, U-23 and Irish senior heptathlon record of 6093 points.
The event was won by Spain’s Maria Vicente with 6115 points, while Switzerland’s Annik Kalan finished third with 6069 points. It was the first time in history an Irishwoman has broken the illustrious 6,000-point barrier.
O’Connor produced an outstanding second day of the competition, starting with a 5.73m long jump. In the afternoon’s javelin she needed a big performance to move into medal contention and she got it, producing the best throw of her life by three metres, an Irish U-20 and U-23 record of 52.92m.
That left her in third position overall ahead of the final 800m, where she needed to beat her chief rivals by a second to take gold. She very nearly pulled it off, clocking 2:16.29 to take silver.
Elsewhere in Boras Davicia Patterson advanced to Saturday’s 400m final after winning her semi-final with 52.81. Her final takes place at 5:46pm Irish time on Saturday. Aaron Sexton coasted through the opening round of the men’s 200m, winning his heat in 21.17. Reality Osuoha also advanced in an automatic qualifying spot after finishing fourth in his 200m heat in 21.80.
Deirdre Murray was impressive in her 400 hurdles heat, clocking 60.08 to advance to the semi-finals in third place. In the women’s 800m, Sophie O’Sullivan bowed out after finishing eighth in her semi-final in 2:11.53, with Jo Keane also eighth in the following heat in 2:13.51.
Mark Milner ran a strong race but was just denied a place in the men’s 800 final after finishing fourth in the semi-final in 1:53.05. Louis O’Loughlin finished seventh in his heat in 1:55.74 and also bowed out.