6th August 2022
SILVERS FOR HODGKINSON, HUGHES & HAGUE ON PENULTIMATE NIGHT OF COMMONWEALTH GAMES ACTION
Keely Hodgkinson (coach: Trevor Painter; club: Leigh), Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills; Shaftesbury Barnet) and Adam Hague (Trevor Fox; Sheffield & Dearne) all won silver medals as the home nations swept up six medals on the penultimate night of athletics action at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Hodgkinson starred in the event of the night, the women’s 800m, but was caught by Kenya’s Mary Moraa before the line and had to settle for another major championship silver after second-place finishes at the Olympic last year and worlds last month.
In contrast Laura Muir (Andy Young; Dundee Hawkhill) battled to a brilliant bronze in that final, beating Jamaican Natoya Goule at the line while Hughes finally got his hands on an individual Commonwealth Games medal with a fine run for silver in the men’s 200m.
Hague was the third home nations silver medallist on the night in a pulsating men’s pole vault final, that saw English teammate Harry Coppell (Scott Simpson; Wigan & District) win bronze, whilst Alastair Chalmers (Matt Elias; Guernsey) made history for Guernsey with his own bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles.
In the clear standout event of the evening, the women’s 800m final featuring Hodgkinson, Muir and Alex Bell (Andrew Henderson; Pudsey & Bramley) more than lived up to its billing. Kenyan world bronze medallist from Oregon Moraa went off hard at the front as the British trio settled in behind her.
Hodgkinson muscled her way into second before entering the home straight for the first time and remained there at the bell with Muir fourth and Bell fifth. Moraa then dropped to the back of the field down the back straight with Jamaican Goule taking the lead.
England’s Olympic and world silver medallist Hodgkinson still tracked in second and made her move around the final bend for the lead with 100m to go. By this point Goule had fallen out of contention for gold but Moraa was charging up.
Moraa would dramatically pass Hodgkinson with 10m to go as she took gold ahead of the Team England athlete while behind her Muir was charging through herself and a dive at the line would secure a brilliant bronze from Goule for Team Scotland.
Muir’s bronze completes the first half of a potential medal double with the 1500m to come, her time of 1:57.87 also a season’s best. Hodgkinson’s English teammate Bell meanwhile was well placed throughout the final but was unfortunately not in medal contention as she finished sixth in 2:00.52.
Hodgkinson said: “Frustrated is definitely the right word. I’m not quite sure what happened if I’m honest. The race went so quick. The first lap was hard maybe I could have been a bit more patient with myself but I gave it my all. I came here for gold and unfortunately came away with a silver again.
“I’ve never seen it before [the way Moraa run the race]. People run the race differently, you just never know. I was hoping moving ahead with 200m to go, that’s how I beat her [Moraa] last time, but [she is] full of surprises. I’ll go back to the drawing board and try again next year.”
Hughes had a score to settle in the men’s 200m final after his disqualification four years ago at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast – and he somewhat put that to bed with a superb silver.
He ran an excellent bend and was neck and neck with Jereem Richards, the Trinidad and Tobago athlete handed gold four years ago courtesy of the Hughes’ disqualification.
The pair would pull away from the rest of the field but Richards was just quicker over the final 20m and would take gold in a Games record and personal best of 19.80. Hughes’s time for silver was a season’s best 20.12 with bronze taken a further 0.37 back.
The men’s pole vault final delivered plenty of drama itself as English pair Hague and Coppell, and Australian Kurtis Marschall, battled for the medals in an event that would last effectively the entire session.
Unlike Hague, Coppell didn’t enter until 5.35m clearing with ease before failing first time out at 5.50m. Hague, who entered at 5.25m sailed through 5.35m and 5.45m before passing at 5.50m and moving straight onto 5.55m.
Coppell would clear at 5.50m with his second attempt with Australian Marschall keeping it a three-way battle with a final attempt clearance at the same height. Both would pass on 5.55m leaving Hague with his own personal battle.
He took it down the third and final attempt himself, clearing it much to the delight of the home crowd, while Marschall eased over 5.60m first time to put himself well into gold-medal contention and Coppell failed before choosing to go at 5.65m. He couldn’t clear that however and took the bronze.
Hague had three attempts at 5.65m, running through the first two, and missing with his last as he took silver and Marschall handed gold. Hague and Coppell had home nations company in the final from fellow Englishman Owen Heard (Kate Rooney; Harrow) and Glen Quayle (Henrietta Paxton; Shaftesbury Barnet) from the Isle of Man.
Heard would finish fifth overall with a third-time clearance at 5.25m, attempting once at 5.35m and twice at 5.40m. Quayle meanwhile jumped a best of 4.95m for eighth overall.
Chalmers did his best imitation of Moraa in the men’s 400m hurdles final later in the evening as his rapid finish saw him win Guernsey’s first ever athletics medal at a Commonwealth Games with bronze.
Running from lane two, Chalmers executed perfectly through the first half of the race and was well placed in fourth coming around the final bend. From there he had Kenyan William Mbevi Mutunga firmly in his sights – and reeled him in.
Chalmers finished superbly strong, the 10m between him and Mutunga evaporating as he surged to bronze in 49.97, a clear 0.30 ahead of the Kenyan. He said: “It was emotional. It was a hard race. I had covid last week so it has been a hard comeback.
“I just had to focus on and do my race. I saw the battle with the top three and said to myself ‘if you stay in there, you’ve got this’ and the crowd, I can’t even tell you how amazing it was. I heard them and that just drove me.
“When I came here, I knew I could make history for the little island. I am so proud to come from Guernsey and to put them on the map now is my dream.”
In the men’s 5000m final English pair Marc Scott (Jerry Schumacher; Richmond & Zetland) and Patrick Dever (Andy Bibby; Preston) were up near the front through much of the first half of the race while David Mullarkey (Henderson; Leeds City) was patiently sitting towards the back. With four laps to go the lead three stretched it out and Dever moved ahead of Scott.
The lead three were soon in their own race for the medals but the battle for fourth was just as interesting as Scott and Dever battled. Scott would make his own move for fourth down the back straight on the last lap, not too long after Dever had gone for it himself.
Scott wouldn’t be denied that fourth place as he clocked a season’s best 13:19.64, 11 seconds behind the medals, while Dever was a valiant seventh in 13:22.10. Mullarkey, representing the Isle of Man, ran a great race himself as he clocked a huge personal best 13:43.92 for 12th.
The women’s hammer final kick-started a packed evening of finals action for the home nations athletes in contention and Wales’ Amber Simpson (Deeside) could have arguably asked for a better start as she threw a personal best 66.52m with her first attempt.
That was a 67cm improvement on her previous lifetime best and she was once again better than that old mark with a 66.12m with her third attempt. Simpson would never better that opening mark however and would finish fifth, 83cm off the podium.
The Welsh athlete was joined in the women’s hammer final by England’s Anna Purchase (Notts), who opened up with a 63.41m effort. She bettered that to 64.73m second time out before a 63.22m third. Unfortunately, she did could not improve with all three of her next efforts and placed seventh.
In the first track final featuring a home nations athlete, England’s Jessie Knight(Marina Armstrong; WSEH) got off to a very strong start in the women’s 400m hurdles medal showdown. She was well positioned at halfway and the Team England athlete placed fifth at the line in her first Commonwealth Games final in 55.11 seconds.
Scottish sprinter Beth Dobbin (Leon Baptiste; Edinburgh) was the final home nations athlete in action on what was a scintillating penultimate night of athletics at the Alexander Stadium in the women’s 200m final. She ran a strong bend but found the final metres tough, clocking 23.40 for eighth.
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]; Keely Hodgkinson [Women’s 800m]; Zharnel Hughes [Men’s 200m]; Adam Hague [Men’s pole vault]
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]; Harry Coppell [Men’s pole vault]
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 [Men’s 1500m]; Laura Muir [Women’s 800m]
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]