JADE O’Dowda is determined to savour a significant personal milestone when she settles into the starting blocks at the Commonwealth Games.

The former Oxford City AC youngster will compete at her first senior major championships during the 12-day extravaganza in Birmingham, which kicks-off with today’s opening ceremony.

O’Dowda is one of three heptathletes representing Team England, alongside 2019 world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Holly Mills.

READ MORE: Oxford City heptathlete to compete at World Championships

The 22-year-old must wait until Tuesday for her first event, the 100m hurdles, when the track and field action gets under way at the Alexander Stadium.

It will be a special moment for the rising star from Kidlington, particularly with a home crowd cheering her on.

She said: “Obviously you want to get medals and have good performances.

“I want to back up my score from earlier this year (6,224, a personal best), and if that gets me a medal, it gets me a medal.

“I just want to really enjoy it, because it’s my first major Games, it’s a home crowd and they don’t come around that often.

“In the past couple of years, a lot of family and friends haven’t been able to watch me compete.

“I’ll have a bunch of people I know who have got tickets and people who will be able to watch it on TV because it’s a home Games, so that does make it a lot more special.”

O’Dowda now represents Newham & Essex Beagles, but competed in an Oxford City vest until she went to university.

The heptathlete was one of several rising stars coached by Marcia Marriott and she acknowledged the importance of those formative years for her future career.

O’Dowda said: “Her and her husband Ian did everything since I was 12 until I was 18, just before I went to uni.

“They teach you all the basics throughout so you become really good at certain events and you just build from there, so it’s super important.”

Oxford City will be rooting for the heptathlete next week and O’Dowda hopes she can do the club proud.

She said: “I hadn’t really thought about it too much, but to hear people say that is really nice and I’ll try to do my best for everyone.”

O’Dowda is one of 72 athletes picked for Team England, but Bicester’s Kieran Bird is part of a smaller pool. The former Cooper School pupil is in Team Wales’ 16-strong swimming line-up.

Bird, who used to be a member of Bicester Blue Fins, gets his Games under way with the men’s 400m freestyle heats tomorrow morning.

He competes in the first stage of the mixed 4x100m freestyle later on, before racing in the men’s 200m freestyle on Saturday.

St Peter’s College student Tanya Watson takes the plunge into the diving pool next week, representing Northern Ireland, while Zak Seddon – brother of Oxford United left back Steve Seddon – has been selected by England for the 3,000m steeplechase.