|Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August|
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Kate O’Connor says securing a Commonwealth Games silver medal for Northern Ireland in Birmingham “hasn’t really sunk in yet”.
The 21-year-old finished 144 points behind England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon.
“It’s crazy – all the hard work has finally paid off and it’s probably one of the best nights of my life,” said the Newry-born athlete.
“I’m so proud of myself and my team for making this happen.”
O’Connor set personal bests as she pushed world champion Johnson-Thompson all the way over the two days of competition.
Now she has her sights set on surpassing Johnson-Thompson, who defended her Commonwealth title at Alexander Stadium.
“She’s probably the best person to have lost to in that field, if ever there’s a good person to lose to,” added O’Connor, who finished eighth as a teenager at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Katarina’s one of my idols and she’s such an inspiration. Even the way she carried herself through the competition, she’s so supportive to all the girls, even to me.
“She’s a class act to watch. It was a nice feeling to have her under a little bit of pressure. I know in the future I’ll put her under more pressure again and hopefully come past her.
“I managed to put together some really good performances on a major stage. I’m just so proud to be flying the flag – it’s amazing.
“I’ve got the Europeans now coming up but I’m just trying to enjoy this moment. Although I feel like I’ll go on and win more medals and have more success you just never know what’s going to happen in the future.”