Zoe Brown secures place at European Championships

Zoe Brown competed in gymnastics for NI at the 1998 Commonwealth Games

Zoe Brown has booked her place at the European Championships in Zurich in August after improving her Northern Ireland pole vault record on Sunday.

The Antrim athlete's clearance of 4.40m in Athlone added eight centimetres to her previous mark set three weeks ago.

The Raheny Shamrocks competitor exceeded the European Championships standard by five centimetres.

Brown will compete for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games before wearing the Irish vest in Switzerland.

The 30-year-old's performance means that Ireland should have two pole vaulters in Zurich with national record holder Tori Pena (4.60m pb) also set to compete.

Brown's weekend form at the National League meeting in Athlone was significantly better than American-born Pena, who only managed a clearance of 3.95m when finishing fourth at the European Team Championship First League meeting in Estonia.

Katie Kirk also showed good weekend form ahead of her Commonwealths challenge as she improved her 800m personal best when winning the English U23 title at Bedford.

Kirk's time of 2:02.78 cut .19 off her previous best set in Watford last month.

Another Commonwealth Games representative Jason Harvey also produced good weekend form as he achieved a season's best of 50.86 in the 400m hurdles, which was inside the European Championship standard of 51.10.

Harvey's time was .73 outside his personal best set last year and the Northern Irish athlete will be expecting to break the 50-second barrier over the coming weeks.