6th August 2022
GOLD AND BRONZE FOR MILLER AND WIGHTMAN ON SATURDAY MORNING AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Nick Miller (Tore Gustafson, Border) and Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh AC) matched their feats from 2018’s Games with gold and bronze respectively, add medals to their nation’s tallies on the penultimate day of athletics action at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
In a competition which saw Miller and Canada’s Ethan Katzberg go toe to toe, it was England’s Miller who came out on top to retain his Commonwealth title in front of a home crowd, with just 6cm separating gold from silver on the day.
In a series which saw him only get three legal throws away, it was Miller’s 76.43M in round 4 – that coming off the back of a third round 69.04m to keep him in the competition – that was eventually good for gold, though Katzberg’s response of 76.36m with his next throw kept Miller waiting on his podium position.
Also throwing for England, Joseph Ellis (Jerry Clayton, Blackheath & Bromley) produced a final round throw of 73.09m to jump into fourth, with Welshman Osian Jones (Liverpool Harriers) two placers further back courtesy of his 69.15m.
Craig Murch (Lorraine Shaw, Birchfield Harriers) produced his best of 68.42m in round three, the mark good enough for 8th. Scotland’s duo of Mark Dry (Woodford Green Essex Ladies) and Chris Bennett (Andy Frost, Shaftesbury Barnet) were 10th and 12th respectively, their marks 66.86m and 66.48m. Jac Palmer (Adrian Palmer, Cardiff) finished in between the pair, 66.63m seeing him take 11th.
Arguably the final to watch across the athletics programme, the men’s 1500m delivered on expectations with a brilliant race which saw gold change hands a number of times over the closing 200m.
Made hard and fast from the off by the front-running Kenyan due of Abel Kipsang and Timothy Cheruiyot, the field of 12 were led through 800m in 1:52, with Cheruiyot continuing to keep the hammer down through 1200m.
Newly crowned world champion Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman, Edinburgh AC) took up his signature position with 300m to go, straddling lane two to give himself the best chance to strike when ready. He made his move with 200m left, pushing for home down the straight only to be passed by the charging Oliver Hoare of Australia, with Hoare’s brilliant surge seeing him take the tape in the quickest time of his life and a Commonwealth Games record of 3:30.12.
Cheruiyot’s reward for making the race as captivating as it was came in the form of silver in 3:30.21, while Wightman did enough to hold on for bronze, matching the medal he won on the Gold Coast back in 2018, the time 3:30.53.
The pace of the race showed beyond the podium, with fifth-placer Jake Heyward (Wales, Mark Rowland, Cardiff) setting a personal best of 3:31.08, as did Matthew Stonier (Peter Mullervy, Invicta East Kent), Neil Gourley (Ben Thomas, Giffnock North) and Elliot Giles (Jon Bigg, Birchfield Harriers). Stonier clocked 3:32.50 for 7th, Gourley 3:32.93 for 8th, and Giles 3:33.56 for 9th. Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr came home in 3:35.72 for 12th.
A silver medallist on the Gold Coast four years ago, England’s Morgan Lake (Robbie Grabarz, Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow) was a superb fourth in the women’s high jump, falling just short of the podium.
Having missed out on the World Championships in Eugene, Lake used the disappointment as fuel in Birmingham, with a brilliant second-time clearance at 1.92m bringing the capacity crowd to its feet before an agonisingly close final attempt at 1.95m.
Laura Zialor (Jade Surman, Marshall Milton Keynes) was forced to settle for an eighth placed place finish overall, with 1.89m a height too far after clearances at 1.76m, 1.81m and 1.85m.
After a first-time clearance at 1.76m, three failures at 1.81m saw Emily Borthwick’s (England, Robbie Grabarz, Wigan & District) competition come to an end.
The first track action of the day, the women’s 10,000m race walk saw Australia’s Jemima Montag set a rapid pace, with her gold-medal winning performance pulling many of the field behind her to strong performances.
This included Welsh duo Heather Lewis (Martin Bell, Pembrokeshire) and Bethan Davies (Andi Drake, Cardiff), with Lewis producing the performance of her life to clock a personal best of 45:09.19 for fifth, with Davies one place back in sixth, her time of 45:45.59 a season’s best.
The field of nine were split early on in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, with eventual champion Abraham Kibiwot of Kenya setting a rapid pace through the first 1000m before clinging on to win by a whisker from India’s Avinash Mukund Sable. Further down the field, England’s Zak Seddon (Bracknell AC) crossed over the line in 8:48.11, with Welshman Jonathan Hopkins (Tomaz Pilbersek, Wales) finishing with 9:06.95.
Reigning champions, the quartet of Asha Philip (Newham & Essex Beagles), Imani Lansiquot (Stuart McMillan, Sutton & District), Bianca Williams (Enfield & Haringey) and Ashleigh Nelson (Leon Baptiste, City of Stoke) ensured Team England sailed through qualifying without issue in the women’s 4x100m relay, their season’s best time of 42.72 seeing the team finish second in their heat ahead of tomorrow’s final.
They’ll be joined by Scotland’s women after Rebecca Matheson (Ryan Oswold, Woodford Green Essex Ladies), Alisha Rees (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh AC), Sarah Malone (Donald Moss, Edinburgh AC) and Taylah Spence (Eoghan MacNamara, Orkney) combined to produce a time of 45.39 to take the third and final auto qualifier spot from heat 1, anchor Spencer holding off the charges of Singapore and Malta’s teams to bring them home.
Team England’s men followed the women’s lead to qualify to tomorrow’s final in commanding fashion with victory in their heat. Led out by Jona Efoloko (Clarence Callender, Sale Harriers Manchester) after his lead-leg appearance at the World Championships, the trio of Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist, Sutton & District), Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Ryan Freckleton, Newham & Essex Beagles) and Ojie Edoburun (Stuart McMillan, Shaftesbury Barnet) ensured the baton got round safely, their time 38.48.
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]; Nick Miller [Hammer Throw]
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]; Jake Wightman [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]