7th August 2022
HOME NATION MEDAL HAUL LED BY MUIR 1500M GOLD AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES
The final session of athletics in Birmingham saw Scotland’s Laura Muir (Andy Young, Dundee Hawkhill) win a historic gold over 1500m, while Eilish McColgan (Scotland, Liz Nuttall, Dundee Hawkhill) and Ben Pattison (England Dave Ragan, Basingstoke & Mid Hants) shone with 5,000m silver and 800m bronze respectively before high drama saw Scotland’s women’s 4x400m quartet claim bronze after England’s women were disqualified for a lane infringement.
Returning to the track just one day on from winning bronze over 800m, pre-race favourite Muir settled at the very back of the pack while the field bumped and barged their way round the opening 800m in 2:15.5, a modest tempo given five of the twelve women in the field hold sub-4-minute bests.
Muir joined the front-runners with 800m to go, before putting the hammer down with 500m left to test the field’s ability to chase her down. There was no let-up from there, with Muir growing the gap back to the rest. The Scot crossed the line in 4:02.75, a hue achievement as no Scottish woman has ever won the Commonwealth title over the distance.
Behind Muir, and having followed the Scot in putting distance between herself and the rest of the field, Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean (Steve Vernon, City of Lisburn) ran a brilliant race to clinch silver in 4:04.14, a season’s best and well-earned after an outstanding final 400m to hold firm to the line.
Further down the field, there was a 5th finish for Muir’s training partner and fellow Scot Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan) in a season’s best of 4:05.33, with Katie Snowden (England, Dan Stepney, Herne Hill) 7th in 4:07.15, and Wales’ Melissa Courtney-Bryant (Rob Denmark, Poole AC) 10th in 4:10.86.
The very final athletics action of the Games, the women’s 4x400m relay final featured teams from England and Scotland as both nations sought to add one final piece of silverware to their tallies.
With England led off by individual silver medallist Victoria Ohuruogu (Christine Ohuruogu, Newham & Essex Beagles) and Scotland fronted by the experienced multi-international medallist Zoey Clark (Ryan Oswald, Thames Valley), the first set of handovers saw England out in front, with Scotland tucking into fourth.
Fresh from winning individual 400m bronze behind Ohuruogu just this morning, Jodie Williams (Ryan Freckleton, Herts Phoenix) was passed by Jamaica at the half-way point of leg two, but stuck at her task to close the distance once again and handover to Ama Pipi (Marco Airale, Enfield and Haringey) metres off the lead. For Scotland, individual 200m finalist Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh AC) had kept with the front three before over leg two eventually handing over to Jill Cherry (Allan Scott, Victoria Park of Glasgow) with the team in fifth.
Fuelled by just missing the individual 400m podium with a fourth-place finish, Pipi produced a special leg to run England into the lead once more, putting in a lead of 10m by the time the teams swung onto the home straight for the final exchanges. For England, it was 400m hurdles specialist Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) tasked with holding on to the lead, while Scotland were on the coat-tails of South Africa to battle for fourth, with Cherry handing over to world 4x400m bronze medallist Nicole Yeargin (Boogie Johnson, Pitreavie).
Whilist Knight was victorious in a time of 3:25.83 versus Canada’s 3:25.84, that wasn’t the end of the event however, with the England quartet later disqualified for a lane infringement, meaning Scotland – who finished fourth in real-time terms – moved into bronze thanks to Yeargin’s fine anchor leg bringing them home in 3:30.15 ahead of South Africa.
High-quality endurance action continued straight after the women’s 1500m, with English representatives Ben Pattison and Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb, Liverpool Harriers) joined by Scotland’s Guy Learmonth (Lasswade) in the men’s 800m final.
Led through 400m by Kenya’s Wyclife Kinyama, and with many eyes on pre-race favourite Peter Bol (Aus), Webb and Pattison made their own charges with 200m left, moving wide in lanes two and three to give themselves the best chance of silverware down the home straight.
As Kinyama surged away to gold ahead of eventual silver medallist Bol, Pattison’s closing speed saw him come in for the bronze to continue a fine year of progression on the senior stage, his time 1:48.25. Webb was just 0.35 further back for fourth in 1:48.60, while Learmonth ran over 1:48.82 for sixth on his third Games appearance for Scotland.
In the women’s 5000m, and reminiscent of the way in which she led the field over the 10,000m earlier this week, Eilish McColgan ensured the race was honest and trying as she did all the early-running.
Offering no let-up, McColgan led the field through 3000m in 8:53 as the field slowly broke into packs, with only Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet and Selah Buisienei opting and able to go with the Scot. A world silver medallist over the distance just weeks ago in Eugene, Chebet shadowed McColgan closer and closer and looked poised to strike with 600m to go, but it was her compatriot Buisienei who made the first move at the bell to go for home.
Chebet had kept something in reserve however, whipping past both Buisienei and McColgan on the back straight to kick for home, opening up a 25m lead coming into the straight to capture gold. Even with 10,000m fatigue in her legs, McColgan gritted her teeth and pushed one final time to move away from Busienei and add 5000m silver to her growing collection of international medals, her time of 14:42.14 a season’s best to conclude an outstanding Games for the 31-year-old.
After a brutally-honest assessment of her own performance in Eugene, Amy-Eloise Markovc (Chris Fox, Wakefield) did herself proud with a huge personal best of 14:56.60 in fourth, undoubtedly a career-best performance and one that took nearly seven seconds off her previous quickest.
After doing much of the earlier running with the leading pack, Scotland’s Sarah Inglis (Lothian) settled for 7th in 15:08.36, with England’s Calli Thackery (Hallamshire) crossing over in 15:24.82 to clinch 10th.
In the three places behind Thackery came Rosie Flanagan (Northern Ireland Omagh), her time of 15:26.72 a personal best, and Welsh duo Jenny Nesbitt (Cardiff) and Beth Kidger (Joel Kidger, Brighton Phoenix), their times 15:34.98 and 15:37.47 respectively, the latter a personal best.
Further down the running order, Sarah Astin (Isle of Man, Geoff Watkin, Belgrave) was 16th in 15:39.54, a time just half of a second off her personal best, with Rachael Franklin (Isle of Man, Manx) 19th in 16:13.23 and Eloise Walker (Scotland, Andy Young, Edinburgh AC) 20th in 16:28.62.
On the back-straight of the Stadium, the women’s long jump featured three English representatives in Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman, Stoke City), Lorraine Ugen (Dwight Phillips, Thames Valley Harriers) and Abigail Irozuru (Aston Moore, Sale Harriers).
Jumping first out of the three, Sawyers sailed out to a brilliant season’s best of 6.84m (+0.8), the mark just 6cm off her best ever, as many of the field opened with some huge marks. Another 6.84m (+0.3) followed in round four as she chased down a personal best mark to try get into the medals, but there was to be no improvement.
After two no-marks, Ugen produced 6.60m (+0.7) to stay in the competition and move her into fifth, her best position. Elsewhere there was disappointment for Irozuru, with her best mark of 6.19m (+0.4) not enough to leave her securing three further jumps, her finish spot 12th overall.
In the men’s javelin, the Isle of Man’s Joe Harris (Manx) saved his best throw until last, though his mark of 67. 91m sadly wasn’t enough to see him make the top 8 to remain in the competition.
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], Men’s 4x100m relay,
Silver: Kare Adenegan [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Lizzie Bird [Women’s 3000m Steeplechase]; Molly Caudery [Women’s Pole Vault]; Adam Hague [Men’s pole vault]; Sophie Hahn [Women’s T37-38 100m]; Keely Hodgkinson [Women’s 800m]; Matthew Hudson-Smith [Men’s 400m]; Zharnel Hughes [Men’s 200m]; Jade Lally [Women’s Discus]; Victoria Ohuruogu [Women’s 400m]; 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]; Women’s 4x100m Relay
Bronze: Ola Abidogun [Men’s T45-47 100m]; Fabienne Andre [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Harry Coppell [Men’s pole vault]; 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]; Cindy Sember [100m hurdles]; Jodie Williams [Women’s 400m]
Silver: Kate O’Connor [Women’s Heptathlon]; Ciara Mageean [Women’s 1500m]
Gold: Eilish McColgan [Women’s 10,000m]
Silver: Sean Frame [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]; Eilish McColgan [Women’s 5000m]
Bronze: Sammi Kinghorn [Women’s T53-54 1500m]; Jake Wightman [Men’s 1500m]; Laura Muir [Women’s 800m]; Women’s 4x400m relay
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]
Bronze: Alastair Chalmers [Men’s 400m hurdles]