3rd August 2022
MCCOLGAN, JOHNSON-THOMPSON AND DAVIES WIN MEMORABLE COMMONWEALTH TITLES
There were gold medals for England, Scotland and Wales on a hugely successful night for the home nations as Eilish McColgan emulated her mother’s achievements by taking the 10,000m title, Katarina Johnson-Thompson retained her heptathlon crown, and Aled Davies won his first Commonwealth title.
Other notable performances on the second night of action at the Alexander Stadium saw Kate O’Connor secure Northern Ireland’s first silver, Jade O’Dowda and Daryll Neita take home impressive bronze medals for Team England, and Harrison Walsh secure an emotional bronze medal for Wales.
Starting the medal rush off was Eilish McColgan (Liz Nuttall, Dundee Hawkhill) who produced the gutsiest run of her career to win the Commonwealth 10,000m title after a scintillating sprint finish against the Kenyan, Irine Chepet Cheptai.
The Scottish athlete matched her mum, Liz’s, achievement from 1986 and 1990 when she won the Commonwealth 10,000m title, and she did it is special fashion in front of a raucous home crowd.
In the early stages the pace was slower than the field were capable of which led to the Scot pushing on and forcing the field to raise the tempo. After a few laps of attrition, a group containing McColgan, Cheptai and Sheila Chepkirui Kiprotich (KEN) were left, with Uganda’s Stella Chesang and England’s Jess Judd (Mick Judd, Blackburn) dropping off the pace. As the laps ticked down, the intrigued grew and as Kiprotich fell off the pace and started to limp, it became a head-to-head between Scotland and Kenya for the gold. Gritting teeth as the bell tolled, McColgan mustered one last push over the final lap and broke free as she entered the last 100m to take a popular and memorable victory at the Alexander Stadium. She set a Games record time of 30:48.80 in the process.
Judd was next home in fifth place in a time of 31:18.47 while her English teammate Samantha Harrison (Vince Wilson, Charnwood) ran a superb PB of 31:21.53 to finish one place behind. Sarah Inglis (Lothian) of Scotland was the next finisher in 32:04.74 in ninth, but sadly Northern Ireland’s Hannah Irwin (James Thie, Cambridge and Coleridge) did not finish after stepping off the track just after 4000m.
After a tough couple of years, Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Aston Moore, Liverpool) showed her quality as she retained the heptathlon title after a superb series across the seven events. Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor (Newry) won her country’s first athletics medal of the Games with silver, while Jade O’Dowda (John Lane, Newham and Essex Beagles) bagged her first senior medal as she added bronze to Team England’s medal haul.
KJT opened the day with a solid 6.33m mark in the long jump which collected 953 points to extend her overnight lead. Jade O’Dowda’s impressive 6.53m jump was head and shoulders above the rest of the field which moved her up to second overall as the Northern Irish athlete dropped down to fifth.
Next up during the evening session was the javelin, and there was further delight for Johnson-Thompson as she threw a 44.38m personal best on her third and final throw. As she launched the javelin, the crowd held its breath but as it landed the scream went up from the English athlete and celebrations followed as the mark flashed up on the scoreboard. It almost guaranteed her the gold medal as she headed towards the 800m. O’Connor threw the furthest with 51.14m which took her back up to second with O’Dowda back into third with one discipline remaining.
As the 800m began, the three athletes’ occupying the medal positions knew what they had to do to remain in those placings, and all three did their job professionally. England’s Holly Mills (Laura Turner-Alleyne, Andover) won the race in 2:11.42 which confirmed fourth position overall for her, but Johnson-Thompson followed next to win with 6377 points, O’Connor in silver with 6233 and O’Dowda third with 6212 points.
Northern Ireland’s Anna McCauley (John Lane, City of Lisburn) and Wales’s Lauren Evans (Fyn Corcoran, Cardiff) ended the seven events in sixth and seventh on 5426 and 5209 points respectively.
It was a second gold medal on the bounce for Team Wales as Aled Davies (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Cardiff) won his first ever Commonwealth title in the F42-44 / 61-64 Discus Final.
The three-time Paralympic champion upgraded from the silver he won at Glasgow 2014 to take a special gold medal to add to his illustrious collection. The final was decided on Raza points due to the nature of the mixed classification event, so his throw of 51.39m in round five translated into the highest number of points, securing the F63 athlete the title that eluded him.
Harrison Walsh (Nathan Stephens, Swansea) made it a second Welshman on the podium as the F44 athlete’s 54.76m throw secured him the bronze medal, to follow on from his maiden European medal in 2021. Dan Greaves (Zane Duquemin, Charnwood) ended the competition in fourth place overall.
There was a brilliant bronze medal for Daryll Neita (Marco Airale, Cambridge Harriers) in the women’s 100m on a night when she also set a PB of 10.90 (1.1) in the semi-finals, slicing 0.03 off her previous best set last year.
In the final, Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM) and Julien Alfred (LCA) got a better start than the English athlete, but Neita fought back to secure a podium spot in a time of 11.07 (0.4), but the aforementioned duo took gold and silver in times of 10.95 and 11.01 respectively.
English duo Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Stuart McMillan, Sutton & District) and Asha Philip (Amy Deem, Newham and Essex Beagles), Scotland’s Alisha Rees (Leon Baptiste, Edinburgh) and Wales’s Hannah Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea) did not progress past the semi-final stage.
Jeremiah Azu (Helen James, Cardiff) ran a personal best in the heats and later finished fifth in the men’s 100m final. The Welshman has earlier revised his best time to 10.15 (0.4) for second in his heat, but he could not match that in the final as he crossed the line in 10.19 (-0.9) to narrowly miss out on the medal placings. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Ryan Freckleton, Newham and Essex Beagles) pulled up halfway through the race to jog across the line in eight place.
Earlier in the programme, England’s Ojie Edoburun (Stuart McMillan, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Scotland’s Adam Thomas (Bracknell) exited in the semi-finals; the former third in his semi with a time of 10.30 (-0.2) and the latter seventh in his semi-final in 10.40 (-1.2)
As Australia’s Evan O’Hanlon sealed the gold medal in the men’s T37-38 100m, the home nations athletes locked out positions fourth to seventh. England’s Shaun Burrows (Joe McDonnell, Charnwood) was just four hundredths of a second outside a medal as he clocked 11.69 (-0.3), while Ross Paterson (John Kinder, Red Star) and Rhys Jones (Kevin Williams, DSW Para Academy) posted lifetime bests with times of 11.95 and 12.09 respectively. Alexander Thomson (Chris Baillie, Victoria Park City of Glasgow) was next home for Scotland, recording a time of 12.23.
There was a fifth-place finish for Midlands-born Joel Clarke-Khan (Robbie Grabarz, Thames Valley) in the men’s high jump final. He cleared the first three heights of the competition at the first time of asking but needed all three attempts to clear 2.22m. On his third and final effort he was greeted by huge cheers from the Birmingham crowd as he sailed over. However, three fouls at 2.25m saw him bow out of the competition.
Scottish duo William Grimsey (Graham Ravenscroft, Woodford Green Essex Ladies) and David Smith (Ken Allan / Aston Moore, Shaftesbury Barnet) ended the final in seventh and ninth overall.
Divine Oladipo (Ashley Kovacs, Blackheath and Bromley) was the top finisher for England in the women’s shot put final; her best throw of 17.28m confirmed a fifth place finish. Amelia Strickler (Zane Duquemin, Thames Valley) and Sophie McKinna (Paul Wilson, Great Yarmouth) were sixth and seventh after both throwing 17.18m, while Wales’s Adele Nicoll (Ryan Spencer-Jones, Birchfield) was slightly down on her qualification performance as she threw 17.08m to end the competition in eighth.
The morning session once again saw several home nations athletes progress to the next round of their respective competitions.
Continuing his excellent 2022 season, England’s Zac Shaw (Leon Baptiste, Cleethorpes) booked his place in Thursday’s T11-12 100m final after a commanding performance in the heats. Shaw clocked 11.01 (0.8) to win the second heat to automatically qualify. Ndodomzi Ntutu (RSA) progressed as the fastest qualifier in 10.89 (0.2) so the battle for gold will be close tomorrow.
Jamie Webb (Adrian Webb, Liverpool) and Guy Learmonth (Justin Rinaldi, Lasswade) achieved smooth progression into the men’s 800m final after locking out the top two in the opening heat. Webb, the England athlete, had a face of concentration all the way around, and after sticking himself onto the shoulder of the Australian Charlie Hunter on the final lap, he then glided past with 130 metres to go and accelerated away to earn automatic passage to the final, with Scotland’s Learmonth next across the line in second.
World bronze medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith (Gary Evans) shone in the men’s 400m heats as he smoothly advanced to the semi-finals at his home stadium in Birmingham. The Birchfield Harrier looked supreme as he moved up the gears through the race to win his heat in a time of 46.26. Joe Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea) also made sure Wales would be represented in the semi-finals as he finished third in the same heat to earn a big Q next to his name. Guernsey’s Cameron Chalmers (Matt Elias) was fourth in the heat but did not progress.
All five Home Nations representatives moved into the women’s 400m semi-finals after a series of solid performances. Victoria Ohuruogu (Christine Ohuruogu, Newham and Essex Beagles) was the quickest qualifier from the heats after winning the opening race in a time of 51.34. The English athlete improved her PB to 50.99 and won relay bronze at the World Championships last month so is in-form this season.
Scotland’s Zoey Clark (Ryan Oswald, Thames Valley) and Nicole Yeargin (Boogie Johnson, Pitreavie), and English duo Jodie Williams (Stuart McMillan, Herts Phoenix) and Ama Pipi (Marco Airale, Enfield and Haringey) will all join her in the semis; the latter won the final heat in 52.46.
Home Nations Medals
Gold: Hannah Cockroft [Women’s T33-34 100m]; Katarina Johnson-Thompson [Women’s Heptathlon]; 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]; Daryll Neita [Women’s 100m]; Jade O’Dowda [Women’s Heptathlon]
Silver: Kate O’Connor [Women’s Heptathlon]
Gold: Eilish McColgan [Women’s 10,000m]
Silver: Sean Frame [Men’s T53-54 Marathon]
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]