African athletes do battle on track as Scotland’s Beth Potter delights home crowd with brave Commonwealth Games performance
There was a Kenyan clean sweep in a thrilling 10,000m, while silver seemed to be England’s colour on Tuesday evening as the nation claimed five of those medals on the third day of athletics action at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Joyce Chepkirui saw off her compatriots with 32:09.35 for victory in the longest event on the track. Having run a 66:18 half-marathon in Prague earlier this year, Chepkirui just denied Florence Kiplagat who clocked 32:09.48. Emily Chebet ran 32:10.82 as England’s Kate Avery pipped Scotland’s Beth Potter to fourth – 32:33.35 to 32:33.36.
Two packs had been established early on, the Kenyans in a leading group of five and Avery settled with Potter further back. The pace continued to fluctuate and with the groups having combined Potter gradually made her way to the front at around 6000m to the sound of the Hampden roar. The Kenyans regained their lead and started to pull away with around six laps to go. Potter stayed with them at the start but as the gap increased, Avery started to close on the Scot and the pair were level at the bell.
With a 63-second last lap and a 28-second final 200m, Chepkirui stayed strong to take the title as the British runners ran a 71-second final 400m in their battle for the line. England’s Sonia Samuels clocked 32:57.96 for seventh as Wales’ Elinor Kirk ran 33:22.40 for ninth.
Also on the track and Laura Weightman was one of the five English silver medallists. She stayed strong behind Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon in the 1500m final, clocking 4:09.24 to the Kenyan’s 4:08.94. Behind them, Canada’s Kate Van Buskirk bagged bronze with her 4:09.41 as home favourite Laura Muir seemed to stumble coming off the final bend and faded to 11th.
Kipyegon’s team-mate Hellen Obiri had been the favourite but she could only manage 4:10.84 for sixth, one place ahead of Weightman’s compatriot Hannah England, while Jemma Simpson was two places back in ninth.
Another England silver went to Nick Miller in the hammer as he launched the implement to 72.99m as Canada’s Jim Steacy managed 74.16m for gold. Mark Dry added to Scotland’s medal tally with 71.64m for bronze.
Favourite Kimberly Williams claimed the triple jump title but England’s Laura Samuel came close as she broke 14 metres for the first time with a big PB of 14.09m to go third on the UK all-time list. Samuel was sitting just two centimetres behind the world indoor bronze medallist with one jump to go but Williams – who went into the competition with a season’s best more than half a metre further than any other members of the field had managed before Glasgow – saved her best until last with 14.21m from her final leap.
It means the triple jump title remains with a Jamaican athlete, Trecia-Kaye Smith having claimed Commonwealth gold on the past two occasions and bronze at the edition before that.
Bronze went to Trinidad and Tobago record-holder Ayanna Alexander with 14.01m, while Samuel’s England team-mate Yamilé Aldama had withdrawn with injury before the final after struggling in qualifying and Chioma Matthews, a former Commonwealth Games netball medallist, leapt a best of 13.00m for 8th.
William Sharman secured a second Commonwealth 110m hurdles silver as Jamaica’s Andrew Riley denied him the gold – 13.32 to 13.36. Both athletes have been on form this season and in the absence of world leader Hansle Parchment who withdrew before the Games, Riley ensured gold still went to Jamaica as Shane Brathwaite of Barbados bagged bronze with 13.49. Sharman’s fellow Englishman Lawrence Clarke clocked 13.84 for eighth.
There were further medals for Jamaica in the women’s 400m as the nation claimed a clean sweep, led by Stephenie Ann McPherson with 50.67. Behind her, Novlene Williams-Mills, who won bronze in the 2006 Commonwealths, clocked 50.86 for silver as bronze went to Christine Day with 51.09 meaning defending champion Amantle Montsho missed out on a medal with her 51.10 placing her fourth. England’s Kelly Massey, who clocked a 52.19 personal best to make the final, ran 53.08 for eighth.
There was a golden return to decathlon action for Canada’s Damian Warner as he recorded 8282 points, 173 ahead of England’s Ashley Bryant with 8109 for silver.
With an 8512-point personal best achieved when claiming bronze at last year’s World Championships in Moscow Warner was the one to beat, despite having suffered with an ankle injury during the early part of this season. He had proved he meant business with a 100m personal best of 10.29 to break Daley Thompson’s 28-year-old Games decathlon best on day one of the competition and followed that up with a consistent series of performances including a 110m hurdles win with 13.50 – a mark which would have been enough for a medal in the individual event at any of the previous editions of the Games – and 400m victory with 47.78.
European under-23 fourth-placer Bryant went into the competition ranked second and he stayed true to that, his win in the long jump with a 7.56m PB helping him on his way to claiming his first major medal.
The battle for bronze was won by Grenada’s Kurt Felix, who had cleared 2.11m in the high jump, with 8070 points to break his own national record. Having sat in second place for the majority of the competition England’s John Lane slipped to fourth but recorded a 7922-point PB.
Canadian athletes also sit top of the heptathlon overnight as Brianne Theisen-Eaton leads with 3939 points ahead of team-mate Jessica Zelinka with 3744. Even without Olympic champ Jessica Ennis-Hill, there were three Jessicas in the top five as England’s Jessica Taylor sits third with 3520 and Jessica Taylor fifth with 3458.
Grenada’s Olympic champion Kirani James went quickest in the men’s 400m semi-finals as he easily ran 45.14 in the second heat. England’s Martyn Rooney joins him after a fine run to with the first semi-final in 45.22 – the second quickest time of the second round. Chris Brown of Bahamas, who won relay gold at London 2012, scraped a spot as the fastest loser – 45.55 seeing him through. Times of 45.71 and 46.57 weren’t enough to see Rooney’s team-mates Michael Bingham and Nigel Levine progress.
» Results can be found here