BIRMINGHAM: Australian swim star Emma McKeon made Commonwealth Games history by winning her 19th medal as Jacob Kiplimo raced to victory in the 10,000m on the first day of track and field. McKeon pulled one ahead of shooters Michael Gault and Phil Adams and fellow swim star Chad le Clos, who has endured a nightmare Games in Birmingham.
The 30-year-old South African had looked set to take the record himself when he came to Birmingham but so far he has just a silver medal to show for his efforts. On another dramatic night of action in the pool, Adam Peaty showed the mentality that has brought him three Olympic titles. The 27-year-old Englishman admitted to being at the “bottom of the bottom” after his shock defeat in the 100m but bounced back on Tuesday to take gold in the 50m.
“I had two options this morning I either fight or don’t fight,” he told the BBC. “Everyone who knows me, knows I fight.” Prince William, his wife Kate and their seven-year-old daughter Charlotte attended the morning session of the swimming events. The evening again belonged to dominant Australia, who have now won 22 golds at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre out of a total of 43 on offer.
Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo made light of the absence of two-time world 10,000m champion Joseph Cheptegei by destroying his compatriot’s Commonwealth Games record at the Alexander Stadium. Kiplimo, who took bronze at the recent world championships, celebrated with a dance on crossing the line after finishing in 27min 09.19sec, ahead of Kenyan pair Daniel Ebenyo and Kibiwott Kandie.
“I think for me for winning this Commonwealth Games title was everything, the most important thing for me this season,” said the 21-year-old Olympic bronze medalist. “But I still have a lot of things to do in the future at the Olympics and world championships.” There were golds too for Australia’s Nina Kennedy, who built on her bronze in the world championships to take the pole vault title with a best of 4.60 metres, and Chioma Onyekwere of Nigeria in the discus (61.70m).
England’s Jake Jarman claimed a fourth gold medal on the final day of gymnastics while compatriot Joe Fraser grabbed his third with victory in the parallel bars. “I’m going to find somewhere in my house to store them (the medals) - maybe a glass cabinet or something like that, if there’s space,” said the 20-year-old Jarman. On another stellar day for the home nation, Alice Kinsella won the women’s floor while Australia’s Kate McDonald won gold in the women’s balance beam. Cypriot Ilias Georgiou won the men’s horizontal bar.
England finished with 10 gold medals out of a total of 14 in the artistic gymnastics. In the more genteel world of lawn bowls, India triumphed in the women’s fours final, beating 2018 silver medalists South Africa 17-10, while Wales beat England in the men’s pairs final.
“We woke up with the mindset that this is a new day, a new beginning, and that we have the opportunity to do something very special,” said India’s Rupa Rani Tirkey. “We are glad we been able to achieve that.”
Samoan weightlifter Don Opeloge won 96kg gold after his dreams of competing in the Tokyo Olympics were dashed by Covid-19 travel restrictions. On Tuesday he performed a celebratory dance and hopes there will be more to come from his compatriots on Wednesday. “We are called the ‘Dream Team’ in Samoa and we will win more medals. Tomorrow I will be dancing and singing with them.” The first-ever Commonwealth 3x3 basketball competition came to an end with England beating Australia in the men’s final while Canada beat the host nation in the women’s gold-medal match.
Kenyan woe at Games
Katarina Johnson-Thompson is within sight of her first heptathlon title since being crowned world champion in 2019 going into Wednesday’s evening session at the Commonwealth Games. The 29-year-old, who has struggled with injuries, takes a 122-point lead over compatriot Jade O’Dowda into the javelin and 800m after the long jump competition.
She will headline the evening session alongside Jamaica’s Olympic sprint champion Elaine Herah-Thompson, who is bidding to bounce back from the disappointment of taking bronze in the 100m at last month’s world championships. Kenya’s medal hopes suffered a major blow in the morning session when Olympic and world 800m champion Emmanuel Korir was disqualified from the 400m for lane infringement in his heat.
Compatriot Mary Moraa’s hopes of an unlikely 400m-800m double also ended as she eased up early in her 400m heat. The world 800m bronze medallist did not seem overly concerned as she had a big smile on her face-she has already qualified for Saturday’s women’s 800m final. England’s Victoria Ohuruogu, who is coached by her sister, the 2008 Olympic 400m champion Christine-sauntered through her heat in 51.34sec, with Jamaica’s Junelle Bromfield also through.
Both 29-year-old Ohuruogu and Bromfield won relay medals in the world championships in Eugene, Oregon. “I felt a bit rusty, a few niggles, but happy to go through and on to the next one,” said Ohuruogu. The form runner in the 400m is Sada Williams of Barbados, who took individual bronze at the worlds and looked impressive in winning her heat. Ohuruogu’s team-mate, Matthew Hudson-Smith has battled back from mental health issues to take a world bronze in the 400m.
He eased into the second round in a time of 46.26 and the disqualification of Korir has removed a sizeable obstacle for his ambitions of taking gold. “I have tired legs, but it was a controlled heat really,” he said. “My recent British record (44.35, set in May) gives me loads of confidence coming here, but the job’s not done.” Muzala Samukonga might have paid a hefty price for running a personal best of 44.89 to win his heat as he clutched his right hamstring. The Zambian ended up being taken off in a wheelchair.
The men’s 800m looks lighter on quality than the women’s and Australia’s world and Olympic finalist Peter Bol looks to be the favorite. He looked imperious in his heat, posting the fastest time. Bol thanked his medical team after he “rolled” his ankle on Tuesday walking in the city. “I want to give a shout out to my medical team,” he said. - AFP