WRITTEN FOR ATHLETICS WEEKLY MAGAZINE
Thursday October 7
Favourite Frizell delivers
Dominating the field by almost four-metres and breaking the Commonwealth Games record by 67cm with a 68.57m throw, Canada’s Sultana Frizell stole the show in the second final of these championships.
Evidently in a class of her own following her recent 72.24 Commonwealth record earlier this summer, Frizell comfortably launched her best effort in the second round following a tentative 59.87m first throw.
The 2009 World finalist then went on to clear 65-metres on three occasions with 66.47m and 68.07m in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively.
Not following the form book quite as closely was Wales’ Carys Parry, who recorded a season’s best mark with an impressive 64.93m throw in the second round to hold onto her silver medal throughout the competition.
Exceeding 64-metres three times with an additional 64.76m and 64.19m to support her medal-winning effort, the 29-year-old Parry – who led the qualifiers with 63.53m – greatly improved on her sixth place from Melbourne 2006 and went some way to potentially one day emulating her coach, Lorraine Shaw’s 2002 winning-performance.
Parry, who competes in a lucky hat, said of her display:
“I am chuffed. I just stayed relaxed, I've been relaxed all day. People were struggling, people were down because it's quite late in the season.
I was actually quite consistent out there, I actually felt I had a bigger throw in me. I wouldn't have won it, so I am happy.
I can throw a lot further. Hopefully I can have a good winter this winter because this year has not been a great year for me, so to finish with a silver medal is amazing. I've had back problems and missed about two months of training. I wasn't sure if I was going to be ready, but thankfully, the games were late and it's worked out.”
A second athlete from Shaw’s stable made the podium too, with bronze-medal predicted Zoe Derham living up to expectations with a 64.04m first round throw.
Representing England, the 29-year-old UK champion - who has a 2010 best of 66.89m - consistently hovered around the 61-metre mark in her final few attempts as she additionally improved on her 2006 form where she placed fifth, following eighth place in Manchester 2002.
Wales’ Laura Douglas was the final qualifier with a 59.52m throw before the 26-year-old progressed to 61.05m in the first round to place a respectable eighth, one position higher than four-years ago.
The pre-event favourite for the silver medal following a recorded 68.22m this year, Crystal Smith of Canada disappointed in eleventh place with a 59.65m mark and two fouls.
England’s Sarah Holt, with a 65.51m best this season, disappointed with a 57.91m effort which ensured the 23-year-old failed to go through to the final.
GOLD: Sultana Frizell (CAN) 68.57m
SILVER: Carys Parry (WAL) 64.93m
BRONZE: Zoe Derham (ENG) 64.04m
Silver lining continues for MLF
Continuing arguably the finest season of his athletic career, European silver-medallist Mark Lewis-Francis added a second piece of silver to his 2010 resume with a fine 10.20 clocking behind Jamaica’s Lerone Clarke (10.12) in the blue-ribbon event of men’s sprinting in the Indian capital.
Following two years of injury woes and a subsequent Achilles operation, the 28-year-old Birchfield Harrier won his heat in 10.15 – his fastest time for five years – then sped to 10.20 and 10.17 in the second round and semi-final before cruising superlatively in the final to survive a huge slip of his starting blocks, which left him dead-last for the first 40-metres.
Controlling the mid-part of his race, however, MLF closed his Jamaican counterpart down in final 30-metres for tight finish in the most pleasantly-surprising season of all British athletes this year.
England’s sole representative in the event, the Linford Christie-coached sprinter was understandably elated yet disappointed the mishap cost him the victory as his “Commonwealth curse” continued following an injury-ravaged 2002 final and disqualification in 2006.
“If you'd told me 18-months ago (I would have won silver) at the Commonwealth Games I would have told you to shhhhhhh. But I am happy, I do believe I could have done a bit more. Another medal in the bag, second one to my senior career.
I came up into the set position, pushed away and they went backwards. I don't know, I don't think I pushed them (the starting blocks) in properly, it's just one of those things. The thought in my mind was that I am not leaving here without a medal. I think that was one of the best races I have ever run in. If you look at the second part of the race I felt strong.
For me, this is confidence for next year and the year after. One more year and I'll be there. I am the lightest I have ever been, I am the strongest I have ever been and I think I am in a good place.”
Despite the Jamaican squad not fielding the finest such as Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter and Yohan Blake, their nationally-ranked eighth-placed athlete kept the 100m crown in their backyard – albeit in the slowest time since Don Quarry’s 1974 win.
Quick out of blocks with 0.165 reaction time, Clarke – who has endured a long, busy season indoors and across Europe on the outdoor circuit – maintained his form to capture his first major international title.
The 28-year-old, whose mother and family reside in England, failed to make the 2006 final but here used his 10.10 ability to storm to a popular victory.
Trinidad and Tobago’s 32-year-old Aaron Armstrong consolidated his 10.14 semi-final win with a strong 10.24 clocking for third-place, whilst AW’s gold-medal prediction, Sam Effah of Canada disappointed in seventh in 10.37.
GOLD: Lerone Clarke (JAM) 10.12
SILVER: Mark Lewis-Francis (ENG) 10.20
BRONZE: Aaron Armstrong (TRI) 10.24
Friday October 8
Lifetime bests galore for English lions
Long-time leader Jamie Adjetey-Nelson of Canada took the decathlon title by a 171 point margin with an impressive 8070 score over the ten-event discipline.
The 26-year-old Beijing Olympic eighth-placer only registered two lifetime bests in the shot (15.00m) and in the pole vault (4.70m) but a consistently-strong series of performances were enough for the Canadian champion to clinch victory ahead Brent Newdick of New Zealand (7899).
Fourth in the 2006 Commonwealth’s, Newdick leapt a 7.42m personal best in the long jump and vaulted a best of 4.80m in the pole vault, which kept the 26-year-old clear for the runners’ up position.
With Jamaica’s 32-year-old former Commonwealth champion Claston Bernard withdrawing after registering no-marks in the pole vault and javelin, the battle for bronze was a tight one between two Englishmen.
Martin Brockman and Ben Hazell overtook their England team-mate Kevin Sempers in the final event, the 1,500m to sensationally place third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Hovering near the medals for much of the competition, 22-year-old Brockman collected a superb seven lifetime bests to claim his first senior international championship medal with a 7712 personal best score to boot.
In a magnificent display, Brockman scorched to a 11.36 100m, leapt 7.29m in long jump, scored a 13.50m shot, jumped 2.14m in high jump, ran 49.95 in 400m, vaulted 4.60m in the pole vault and threw 51.96m in the javelin before a producing a solid 4:26.28 to win the 1500m to secure the bronze.
Hazell meanwhile, collated a season’s best of 7676 points in fourth and the 26-year-old took personal bests in the shot (13.30m) and dicus (48.01m) before placing runner-up in the 1,500m behind Brockman in one last push to get near a medal.
Sempers, although finishing fifth after a tired 5:04.93 in the final event, was at least rewarded with a solid 7571 lifetime best overall score.
Wales’ Ben Gregory placed sixth with another lifetime best for the Brits, this time scoring 7383. The 19-year-old gathered an impressive five personal bests with a 14.85 to win the second heat of the 110m hurdles, 1.90m in the high jump, 49.59 to win his 400m heat, 14.85 in the 110m hurdles to win his heat and 5.20m to win the pole vault.
Northern Ireland’s Tom Reynolds leapt a personal best-breaking 4.60m in the pole vault to place ninth overall with 7210, whilst Scotland’s Roger Skedd failed to complete the final three events.
GOLD: Jamie Adjetey-Nelson (CAN) 8070
SILVER: Brent Newdick (NZL) 7899
BRONZE: Martin Brockman (ENG) 7712
Men's 110m hurdles
Golden Turner leads England clean-sweep
In glorious fashion, England’s Andy Turner led Team England to an emphatic clean-sweep of the medals in this, his second major international championship victory of 2010.
Following on from his superb European championship victory in Barcelona last July, Turner sped away from the gun with compatriot Will Sharman and pulled clear in the final metres to clock an impressive 13.38 for glory.
Ensuring the action was as hot as the 31-degree heat and 74% humidity, Sharman and the third Englishman, 20-year-old Lawrence Clarke from lane eight, stormed ahead of the rest of the field to take the silver and bronze in 13.50 and 13.70, respectively.
Into a +0.1m/s wind with a 0.157 reaction time, 30-year-old Turner – the 2006 bronze-medallist coached by Lloyd Cowan - was the fastest qualifier for the final with a 13.58 clocking earlier in the day and by collecting his second championship title this year, the Sale Harrier ensured this to be the finest season of his athletic career.
UK champion Sharman was inspired to make amends for his disqualification at the semi-final stage in Spain and the 26-year-old 2009 World fourth-placer did just that in scintillating style to prove AW’s one-two prediction as correct.
Against the odds, Sharman – who picked up a virus prior to the heats – only decided to race because his mother and sister had travelled to watch him compete, as he had previously struggled to keep food and fluid down and was subsequently rushed to hospital following the final to be placed on a drip.
Further showing English grit and determination, 2009 European junior champion Clarke collected his first senior international championship medal despite tearing his hip flexor the morning of the heats so passed on even attempting a warm-up before the final.
Storming through the field in the final metres, Clarke – the English senior champion - pipped Jamaica’s Eric Keddo and Hansle Parchment (both 13.71), the latter a personal best for the 20-year-old.
Scotland’s Chris Baillie placed eighth in 13.97, a disappointing result for the 29-year-old 2006 silver-medallist.
GOLD: Andy Turner (ENG) 13.38
SILVER: Will Sharman (ENG) 13.50
BRONZE: Lawrence Clarke (ENG) 13.70