European Games 2015: Reid carries Irish hopes on opening day

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Triathlete Aileen Reid is the first Irish competitor in action at the European Games in Azerbaijan.

Aileen Reid will be the first athlete to represent Ireland in the inaugural European Games - and is one of their best medal hopes.

The 32-year-old triathlete from Londonderry has been in superb form, with a seventh, sixth and fourth in her last three World Series races.

Reid, part of a 55-strong Irish team in Baku, competes on Saturday morning.

She is keen to make an impression at the Rio Olympics next year after her bike fall disappointment in 2012.

"London was unfortunate but it was one of those things you have to get over and use to try and turn yourself into a more consistent athlete," she said.

"I think the difference between me then and now is I have more experience. I know there will be crashes and sickness and tough times, but it is about how I deal with it and come back."

Reid has more than atoned for her Olympic heartache having rebounded to claim a career-best second place at the 2013 World Series final in London.

The Derry woman is actually the leading European in the Baku field, currently placed sixth in the World Series.

"My results have been improving all the time but there is no really specific factor - it is just about talking with my coach and learning where to improve," she added.

"I have always had that belief in myself and it is all about focusing on the small things rather than the results.

"A medal in Baku would really mean a lot to me but it is really also about raising the level of awareness of triathlon in Ireland.

"I feel less pressure and in good shape to go to Baku and do the best I can do."

Ireland's team for Baku also includes Olympic and five-time world boxing champion Katie Taylor and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michaela Walsh.

In addition, Scott Evans will be top seed in the men's singles badminton competition having broken into the world's top 25 for the first time earlier this year.

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