2nd August 2022
BREEN, COCKROFT AND OYINBO-COKER SECURE GOLD AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES
The Home Nations para athletes dominated the first evening of the track and field programme at the Commonwealth Games as Olivia Breen, Hannah Cockroft and Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker secured gold medals on a busy night in Birmingham.
England won eight medals on the night, while Wales won their first athletics gold of the Games so far.
Rounding off a frantic evening of finals, Hannah Cockroft (coach: Jenni Banks, club: Leeds) put on a show as she headed an England 1-2-3 in the women’s T33-34 100m as Kare Adenegan (Job King, Coventry) and Fabienne Andre (Jenny Archer, Weir Archer Academy) also earned their spots on the podium at the Alexander Stadium.
Cockroft, seven-time Paralympic champion and 12-time world gold medallist, won the title that eluded her as she competed at her first Commonwealth Games. The Paralympic legend pushed to a time of 16.84 (1.7) with Adenegan next in 17.79. Andre fought superbly to beat Paralympic bronze medallist Robyn Lambird (AUS) on the line to win the bronze.
Earlier in the evening, Olivia Breen (Aston Moore, City of Portsmouth) earned a fantastic gold medal in the women’s T37-38 100m to secure Wales’s first track and field medal of the Commonwealth Games.
Reigning Commonwealth champion in the long jump, Breen added track gold to her CV as she ran a superb personal best of 12.83 (0.6). Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn (Leon Baptiste, Charnwood) was second and earned the second Commonwealth medal of her career with a time of 13.09 ahead of Australia’s Rhiannon Clarke who won the bronze.
England’s Ali Smith (Benke Blomkvist, Guildford and Godalming) was fourth in 13.30, while teammate Hetty Bartlett (Denis Costello, City of Norwich) was sixth in 13.41.
The men’s T45-47 100m title will stay with England’s Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker (Joe McDonnell, Newham and Essex Beagles) for the next four years as he scorched to career best of 10.94 (0.5) as he took home the gold medal and celebrated with his family in the crowd at the finish.
He enjoyed a fast start to the race and held an advantage early on from compatriot Ola Abidogun (Steve Thomas, Horwich) who would eventually win bronze in 11.13. Australia’s Jaydon Page came through for silver in 11.10 but they were no match for Oyinbo-Coker. Silver medallist from 2018, James Arnott (City of Plymouth) was fourth in 11.45.
In the field, Jade Lally (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnet) earned the second Commonwealth discus medal of her career and upgraded from bronze in Glasgow to silver in Birmingham.
With a throw of 57.33m on her opening attempt, Lally led until round four. However, she was usurped by Nigeria’s Chioma Onyewere as she launched the discus to 61.70m to lay down her credentials for the gold medal. Lally improved to 58.42m in the final round but it was not enough to overhaul the Nigerian.
Scotland’s Kirsty Law (Zane Duquemin, Sale Harriers Manchester) ended her series in seventh position with a best of 54.38m, while Jersey’s Shadine Duquemin (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnet) was 10th with 52.87m.
England’s Molly Caudery (Scott Simpson, Thames Valley) achieved the silver medal in the women’s pole vault final to win her first major senior medal. The Cornish athlete cleared 4.25m, 4.35m and 4.45m at the first time of asking, and despite three fouls at 4.50m, the clearance ultimately saw her claim a spot on the podium. Australia’s Nina Kennedy was the champion after she cleared 4.60m.
Northern Ireland’s Ellie McCartney (Kate Rooney, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) and England’s Sophie Cook (Scott Simpson, Halesowen) finished seventh and eighth respectively as they cleared 4.25m – the height was a PB for the former. Before the competition got underway, Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson, Blackburn Harriers) sadly had to withdraw due to injury.
Back on the track, Andrew Butchart (Gary Lough, Central) was the sole home nation’s finisher in the men’s 10,000m final as he posted a time of 27:53.57 for seventh spot. The Scottish athlete took on the pace of the race midway through the contest, but as the Uganda and Kenyan athletes accelerated in the last couple of kilometres, Butchart could not live with the tempo but still finished in a solid time. Despite leading the race in the opening stages, Sam Atkin (Mike Collins, Lincoln Wellington) stepped off the track not long after the 5000m mark so did not finish.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Aston Moore, Liverpool) started her Commonwealth Games title defence in confident fashion as she leads the competition after four events on day one.
The 2019 world champion stands on 3765 points, 109 points ahead of Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor (Newry) in second while Australia’s Taneille Crase in bronze medal position. She started with a time of 13.85 (0.4) in the 100mh, before her clearance of 1.84m in the high jump set her apart from the rest. 12.94m in the shot put kept her in the lead before a scintillating 200m, the time 23.70 (0.4), saw her extend her advantage over the rest of the field.
O’Connor had a great series of events on Tuesday as she started with a PB in the 100m hurdles; the time 13.74 (-0.4). Seasons best of 1.78m followed in the high jump and 13.73m in the shot put, before a second lifetime best came in the 200m with a time of 25.04 (-0.2).
England’s Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne, Andover) is fourth on 3602 points after day one, with Jade O’Dowda (John Lane, Newham and Essex Beagles), Anna McCauley (John Lane, City of Lisburn) and Lauren Evans (Fyn Corcoran, Cardiff) holding positions fifth through to seventh.
Elsewhere, Alastair Chalmers (Matt Elias, Guernsey) booked his spot in the men’s 400m hurdles final after he clocked 50.39 to earn one of the next fastest non-automatic qualifier spots. Going in heat two, the Guernsey athlete was involved in a stacked heat which was won by Jaheel Hyde of Jamaica in 49.60. Fellow Guernsey athlete Peter Curtis (Dale Garland) was fifth in heat one in 52.57 but did not progress.
Andrew Pozzi (Stratford-upon-Avon) and Joshua Zeller (Adrian Brown, Bracknell) made swift progress into the men’s 110m hurdles final after solid performances.
Pozzi went in heat one and finished third in 13.41 (0.6) behind Jamaican duo Hansle Parchment and Orlando Bennett to earn an automatic spot in the race for the medals. Meanwhile, Zeller – who finished fifth in his maiden world final last month – clocked 13.35 (1.3) for second in heat two and moves into the final as the third fastest qualifier from the heats. Tade Ojora (Joanne Hayes, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) missed out by one position after finishing fourth in heat two.
The morning session saw a number of home nations athletes qualify to the next stage of their competition.
Olympic and world silver medallist, England’s Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter, Leigh) started her 800m campaign in Birmingham with a comfortable victory in the third and final heat to qualify for the final. She’ll be joined there by fellow world medallist Laura Muir (Andy Young, Kilbarchan), representing Scotland, as well as England’s Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson, Pudsey and Bramley).
English duo Ojie Edoburun (Stuart McMillan, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Ryan Freckleton, Newham and Essex Beagles), along with Wales’s Jeremiah Azu (Helen James, Cardiff) and Scotland’s Adam Thomas (Bracknell) reached the 100m semi-finals as automatic qualifiers.
In the women’s 100m heat, Daryll Neita (Marco Airale, Cambridge Harriers) qualified through as fourth quickest overall thanks to her time of 11.02 (-0.2) to win heat three with ease. She’ll be joined in the semis with England teammates Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Stuart McMillan, Sutton & District) and Asha Philip (Amy Deem, Newham and Essex Beagles), while Scotland’s Alisha Rees (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh) and Wales’s Hannah Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea) went through as next fastest non-automatic qualifiers.
Home nations will be represented by a full cohort of athletes in the women’s shot put final as all four advanced. Adele Nicoll (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Birchfield) threw the furthest of them all, ending qualifying fourth with 17.30m, while Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin, Thames Valley), Divine Oladipo (Ashley Kovacs, Blackheath and Bromley) and Sophie McKinna (Paul Wilson, Great Yarmouth) also advance.
Also, Lawrence Okoye (Zane Duquemin, Croydon), Nicholas Percy (Zane Duquemin, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Zane Duquemin (John Hillier, Shaftesbury Barnet) all progressed to the men’s discus final. Olympian, Okoye finished the qualification pools in third place overall after a best of 63.79m, while Scotland’s Percy and Jersey’s Duquemin finished inside the top seven.
Home Nations Medals
Gold: Hannah Cockroft [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker [Men’s T45-47 100m]; JohnBoy Smith [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]
Silver: Kare Adenegan [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Molly Caudery [Women’s Pole Vault]; Sophie Hahn [Women’s T37-38 100m]; Jade Lally [Women’s Discus]; Eden Rainbow-Cooper [Women’s T53-54 Marathon]
Bronze: Ola Abidogun [Men’s T45-47 100m]; Fabienne Andre [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Simon Lawson [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]
Silver: Sean Frame [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]
Gold: Olivia Breen [Women’s T37-38 100m]