Conor Ferguson storms into Commonwealth 100m backstroke final

Conor Ferguson won three medals at the last Commonwealth Games in Samoa
Padraig O Meiscill

CONOR Ferguson was the star of the show for Northern Ireland on the opening day of competition in the Commonwealth Games yesterday.

Ferguson dazzled to storm into today's 100m backstroke final as he qualified fourth fastest on Australia's Gold Coast.

Ferguson, 18, clocked 54.48 seconds in his semi-final, which was over a second faster than his morning heat time, to finish third behind Australian duo Mitch Larkin (53.15) and Bradley Woodward (54.22).

Meanwhile, Cookstown clubman Calum Bain was 11th in the 50m butterfly after finishing fifth in his semi-final. Bain clocked 25.45 in his morning heat to qualify 11th for the semi-finals and went 0.02 seconds faster in the evening as he remained in 11th spot.

The county Tyrone man's time was 0.26 seconds slower than the eighth and last qualifier for the final, Australian David Morgan.

Bain's team-mate David Thompson narrowly missed out on the semi-finals despite winning his heat in 24.77 seconds, with Curtis Coulter 29th overall after a 25.53 clocking.

Gymnast Rhys McClenaghan also made a superb start to his Games yesterday. McClenaghan, 18, was second in pommel horse qualification behind Olympic champion Max Whitlock and qualified 13th for the all-round final.

The North's netballers opened their campaign with a 94-26 defeat by hosts and gold medal favourites Australia. The Aussies led 44-15 at half-time and totally dominated the second-half against Elaine Rice's team.

Australia took charge from the off as they led 23-9 after the first period and Caitlin Thwaites scored from each of her 39 shots.

In the men's triathlon, Russell White finished in a noteworthy 14th place, with youngster James Edgar in 22nd spot.

White, a member of Lisburn City Swimming and Dromore Athletics clubs, was two minutes and seven seconds behind South African winner Henri Schoeman with Edgar, who has also represented Ireland in athletics, five minutes and 30 seconds off the pace.

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