A leap of faith could make Commonwealth Games dream come true for Kara

Kara McDonald who has qualified for the All-Ireland Athletics Finals in Tullamore in July. INLM26-213.

Kara McDonald who has qualified for the All-Ireland Athletics Finals in Tullamore in July. INLM26-213.

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Craigavon teenager Kara McDonald has taken a leap of faith that could eventually see her competing in the Commonwealth Games.

The 15-year-old St. Michael’s Grammar pupil clinched a silver medal at the recent Ulster Championships in Jordanstown in the triple jump - her first time trying the discipline.

Kara is a member of Lagan Valley Athletic Club and has won a host of medals at both high and long jump but she was encouraged a ‘have a go’ at the triple jump by her coaches.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Kara. “It could not have gone any better. I’ll keep training and hopefully keep improving. Long term the target would be to take part in the Commonwealth Games.”

Kara started sprinting when she was with St. Anthony’s and St. Mary’s Primary Schools but took up long jump and high jump when she joined Lagan Valley AC three years ago.

The lack of local facilities means a lot of travelling for the family.

“We had contacted Craigavon Borough Council seeking help in getting use of facilities but were left to sort it out ourselves,” explained mum Sharon. “It’s a shame there is nothing here. Look at the catchment area we have and the number of kids who could benefit from some kind of facility0. We have to make a 67 mile round trip journey three times a week. It’s tough but we want to support Kara all the way.”

Kara has two more years before she moves up to senior level.

“I have to work and improve my PB’s over the next two years,” added Kara.

“I train three times a week and then we have the competitions. It is key to build-up strength in the legs and we work on that as part of our training. Muscle flexibility, speed and timing follow on from that.

“I really enjoy it and maybe one day I can go to the Commonwealth Games.”