Kate O'Connor set a new Irish record for the heptathlon at the Multistars Trofeo Zerneri Acciai in Italy on Sunday.
The 18-year-old, a St Gerard's AC Dundalk athlete, accumulated 5881 points in Lana. Her mark broke Elizabeth Morland's previous record of 5815 set just last year in Tenerife.
In the event, O'Connor also set a new Northern Irish record for the javelin. Her throw of 49.31m broke her coach Laura Kerr's 16-year-old record of 49.23m. The throw was also a new Irish U20 record, bettering her own previous effort of 48.95m. She also set a new personal best of 13.48m in the shot put.
O'Connor, competing in her first heptathlon of the year, finished second overall in what was the opening competition of the 2019 IAAF Combined Events Challenge. American Annie Kunz won with 5971 points.
Great 2019 outdoor start to Kate O'Connor's season - Irish Senior Heptathlon Record of 5,881pts plus nice NI Sen Javelin record on way!! Congrats Kate and all support team @kateoc2000 @irishathletics @AthleticsNI
— Field-Events Ireland (@ThrowsIreland) April 28, 2019
She now sets her sights on the European U20 Championships which are being held in Sweden in July.
"I did not expect this performance,” O’Connor told the European Athletics website.
"This weekend was cold but I’m used to this weather in my country. It would be amazing to win a medal at the European U20 Championships; that’s my goal for the year."
At the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year, O'Connor finished eighth in the heptathlon. Later this year, she will begin an athletics scholarship at the University of Texas.
Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile