5th August 2022
FIVE MEDALS FOR TEAM ENGLAND ON FANTASTIC FRIDAY AT THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES
It was a memorable Friday night at the Commonwealth Games as England won five medals on the track and in the field.
Nathan Maguire (Ste Hoskins, Kirkby) and Daniel Sidbury (Christine Parsloe, Sutton & District) put on quite a show as the duo sealed an England 1-2 in the men’s T53-54 1500m.
Two of Britain’s finest wheelchair racers showed their class in this race; Sidbury accelerating away with 700m to go which was the decisive moment of the race. As Sidbury created a gap of 30/40 metres from Sam Carter (AUS) and Maguire down the back straight, the medal places seemed secure for these three athletes, but in what order would they finish in?
The chasing duo narrowed the gap on Sidbury by the time they reached the bell, and as they entered the home straight on the final lap, Maguire came wheel-to-wheel with his compatriot and had enough in the final sprint to secure the golden moment in a time of 3:11.83, with Sidbury settling for silver.
Lizzie Bird (Pat McCurry, Shaftesbury Barnet) ran one of the races of her life to win England’s first ever Commonwealth medal in the women’s 3000m steeplechase. Her determined run earned her the silver and a personal best of 9:17.79 after a magnificent performance.
The race was blown wide open within the first 150m as Kenya’s Jackline Chepkoech and Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai opened a big gap on the rest of the field, with everyone else assumingly battling for bronze.
Pratt and Bird became embroiled with a battle for the medal alongside Australia’s Amy Cashin for much of the contest, but Lizzie Bird pushed on in the closing stages so looked on for the medal. However, as the Ugandan took a heavy fall after hitting a barrier, the English woman reeled her in on the final lap and went past with 200m to go, and she pushed to her quickest ever time.
Aimee Pratt (Vicente Modahl, Sale Harriers Manchester) was just outside the medals in fourth in a time of 9:27.41, while Northern Ireland’s Eilish Flanagan (Omagh) sixth in 9:57.18.
There was not just one, but four lifetime bests for Naomi Metzger (Aston Moore) as she leapt to Commonwealth bronze in the women’s triple jump. Energised by the home crowd, Metzger improved her PB to 14.32m in round one which put a beaming smile on the face of the Trafford athlete which did not leave her face for the rest of her series.
14.23m in round two was a centimetre further than her previous PB, and then she went even further on her third effort, going out to 14.37m. She was just one centimetre shy of this in round five, and ultimately it earned her a special moment on the podium.
In a thrilling men’s shot put final, England’s Scott Lincoln (Paul Wilson, City of York) secured a popular bronze medal in front of a raucous Friday night crowd. As the New Zealand duo of Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill wowed the crowd, with the latter throwing a PB of 21.90m, as they battled it out for gold and silver, Lincoln was in a duel with Chukwuebuka Enekwechi for the bronze medal. The Nigerian had the upper hand until round five when the Englishman’s throw of 20.57m moved him into the medal places much to the delight of the spectators in Alexander Stadium.
Harry Kendall (David Hull) was on course for the Freedom of Birmingham as an enthralled Midlands crowd followed his exploits closely over the second day of action; the Englishman ended the Decathlon in sixth overall after a successful 10 events.
The Tonbridge athlete started the day in sixth position but a time of 15.72 (1.2) in the 110m hurdles was not quite the start he was looking for as he moved down to seventh, and a throw of 42.09m in the discus kept him there in the standings. However, the pole vault competition came alive, and with a captivated audience with all eyes on him and the rest of the decathletes, he cleared 4.40m to move back up to sixth overall. A final throw PB of 59.90m in the javelin and a time of 4:50.22 in the 1500m earned him an overall points tally of 7480.
England’s Victoria Ohuruogu (Christine Ohuruogu, Newham and Essex Beagles), Ama Pipi (Marco Airale, Enfield and Haringey) and Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan, Herts Phoenix) all claimed automatic qualification through to the women’s 400m final, while Scotland’s Zoey Clark (Ryan Oswald, Thames Valley) went through as one of two fastest qualifiers on time.
Ohuruogu was just one one-hundredth outside her PB as she won the first semi-final in 51.00 with Pipi holding on for third just ahead of Clark; their times 51.95 and 51.99 respectively.
Williams returned to form as she clocked 51.98, a season best, to cross the line in third place to join the trio in the final. Scotland’s Nicole Yeargin (Boogie Johnson, Pitreavie) was fifth in semi-final two so did not advance.
World bronze medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith (Gary Evans, Birchfield) once again dazzled the Birmingham crowd on his home track, winning the third and final 400m semi in 45.77 – the quickest time overall – and will be one of the favourites for gold on Sunday morning. The Englishman ran a controlled race and always looked comfortable as he had time to conserve energy in the final few metres to advance with ease.
Joe Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea) came home eighth in semi-final two in a time of 47.50.
Scotland will have a finalist in the women’s 200m as Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh) earned the last non automatic qualifying spot. Running in the third of the semis alongside Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM), Dobbin fought well to finish third behind Gina Bass (GAM) in 23.28 (1.5) to progress to Saturday night’s showdown.
Hannah Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea) and Abi Galpin (Guernsey) were sixth and seventh in semi-final one so their Commonwealth Games came to an end.
During the morning session, Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet) was in superb form as he showed a touch of class to move into the men’s 200m, where he will be going for gold. The 2018 European champion over 100m flew to a time of 20.32 (2.1 m/s) to win his semi-final with ease. Adam Gemili (Blackheath and Bromley) exited the competition after a fourth-place finish in semi-final two.
It was a very happy 28th birthday for Cindy Sember (Chris Johnson, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) as she qualified with ease for the women’s 100m hurdles final. She looked supreme over the hurdles as she beat 2015 world champion Danielle Williams (JAM) to win the heat in a wind-assisted time of 12.67 (2.5).
There was no place in the final for either Northern Ireland’s Megan Marrs (Alex Nwenwu, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) or Scotland’s Heather Paton (Benke Blomkvist, Birchfield Harriers). Marrs was fourth in the same heat as Sember with a season best time of 13.37, while Paton also recorded a season best of 13.39 (2.0) for fifth in the second of two heats.
A full complement of home nations representatives booked their spot in the women’s 1500m final on Sunday. Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean, Team Scotland’s Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Hawkhill) and Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan), England’s Katie Snowden and Wales’s Melissa Courtney Bryant (Rob Denmark, Poole) all progressed in mixed fashion.
As Mageean won the first heat with relative ease in 4:13.52, Olympic medallist Muir eased her way into the final, expending little energy in the process. In the first of two heats, Muir sat in seventh down the backstraight, but used all her experience to earn a top five position and automatic qualification; before that, she has the 800m final on Saturday. Courtney-Bryant saw a small q go up next to her name after the completion of the second heat.
There was a blanket finish in heat two as six athletes were separated by 0.19; Snowden was second while Reekie captured the final qualification spot by time.
In the field, Abigail Irozuru (Aston Moore, Sale Harriers Manchester), Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman, City of Stoke) and Lorraine Ugen (Dwight Philips, Thames Valley) made sure three England athletes would contest the women’s long jump final on Sunday evening.
Sawyers and Ugen jumped over the automatic qualification distance with bests of 6.80m and 6.79m respectively, while Irozuru jumped a season best of 6.59m to ensure a small q came up next to her name in the results. She had fouled the first two jumps, so the pressure was on with the final attempt but she confirmed she would move onward to the final.
Home Nations Medals
Gold: Hannah Cockroft [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Katarina Johnson-Thompson [Women’s Heptathlon]; Nathan Maguire [Men’s T53-54 1500m]; Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker [Men’s T45-47 100m]; JohnBoy Smith [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]
Silver: Kare Adenegan [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Lizzie Bird [Women’s 3000m Steeplechase]; Molly Caudery [Women’s Pole Vault]; Sophie Hahn [Women’s T37-38 100m]; Jade Lally [Women’s Discus]; Lawrence Okoye [Men’s Discus]; Eden Rainbow-Cooper [Women’s T53-54 Marathon]; Zac Shaw [Men’s T11-12 100m]; Daniel Sidbury [Men’s T53-54 1500m]
Bronze: Ola Abidogun [Men’s T45-47 100m]; Fabienne Andre [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Simon Lawson [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]; Scott Lincoln [Men’s Shot Put]; Naomi Metzger [Women’s Triple Jump]; Daryll Neita [Women’s 100m]; Jade O’Dowda [Women’s Heptathlon]; Andrew Pozzi [Men’s 110m Hurdles]
Silver: Kate O’Connor [Women’s Heptathlon]
Gold: Eilish McColgan [Women’s 10,000m]
Silver: Sean Frame [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]
Bronze: Sammi Kinghorn [Women’s T53-54 1500m]
Gold: Olivia Breen [Women’s T37-38 100m], Aled Davies [Men’s F42-44 / 61-64 Discus]
Bronze: Harrison Walsh [Men’s F42-44 / 61-64 Discus]