WRITTEN FOR ATHLETICS WEEKLY MAGAZINE
Men’s 400m hurdles - final
Golden Greene strikes again
Four years ago, Dai Greene was in Melbourne as part of an injury-ravaged Welsh 4x400m relay squad which couldn't compete but last Sunday, the recently-crowned European champion gained Commonwealth revenge in impressive style, taking victory in 48.52.
Eager to make his mark on his debut in these Games, 24-year-old Greene scorched away from the gun and gritted his teeth over the final few barriers to collect his second gold medal of the summer ahead of reigning champion and Games record-holder Louis Van Zyl of South Africa (48.63).
A title which had never tasted so sweet, Greene clocked 49.98 to convincingly take his heat and following victory in the IAAF/VTB Continental Cup in Spilt with a 47.88 lifetime best last month, glory was correctly predicted for the Swansea Harrier.
With the World championships in South Korea next summer ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, Greene is fast-asserting himself as a potential global medallist, and should his rate of progression continue, the Malcolm Arnold-coached sprint hurdler should feature prominently as he matures further.
The 25-year-old Van Zyl, meanwhile - who was a poor fifth and over two-seconds behind Greene in Split – ran 49.95 in his heat before striding clear of third-placed Rhys Williams of Wales.
The European silver-medallist renewed his great rivalry with his Welsh training partner to go one place better than four years ago with a 49.19 clocking for the 26-year-old, following 49.81 to win his heat the previous day.
Shortly behind in a personal best of 49.36 was Kenya’s Vincent Koskei, one place ahead of England’s Rick Yates (49.84).
The 24-year-old Trafford athlete ran strongly to almost emulate the 49.83 season’s best he scored whilst taking his heat ahead of Van Zyl and the UK bronze-medallist made his first championship final in the process.
Admirably finishing eighth at the end of his first season in the event, England’s David Hughes clocked 50.48, as the 26-year-old former 110m hurdler improved on his 50.55 heat time.
Evidently one to watch in the future, the English champion - who was also fifth in the UK champs behind Greene - has a best of 49.58 which would have placed him in fourth here.
Dale Garland of Guernsey failed to qualify with 51.48 in his heat.
3.40pm – men's 200m final
Baptiste comes of age
After an injury-ravaged summer which forced him to miss the European championships, England’s Leon Baptiste made up for his disappointing 2010 with gusto, as the 25-year-old claimed Commonwealth gold in scintillating style.
Following a strong start, Baptiste led the field through the half-way mark before pulling clear of Christian Malcolm in the final 50m, as Jamaica’s Lansford Spence (20.49) charged like a train to clinch the silver from the Welshman (20.52) whilst Baptiste scorched to a blistering 20.45 victory.
Taking England’s first men’s 200m Commonwealth crown since Julian Golding in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur, Baptiste looked certain for a medal after a 20.43 lifetime best to win his semi-final over Malcolm.
His domination was evident throughout the entire competition, too as Baptiste also took wins in both the second round (20.68) and heat stages (21.06).
Spence, 27 and with a best of 20.63 prior to Delhi, sped to no less than three personal bests over the two days of action, with 20.60 in the second round, 20.54 in his semi and 20.49 in the final.
Malcolm, the recent European silver-medallist and runner-up in the 1998 edition, clocked times of 21.14, 20.93 and 20.53 over the rounds before the 31-year-old UK champion claimed his second major championship medal of the year in his fastest time of the event.
Meanwhile, in fifth position with 20.75, 2002 Commonwealth silver-medallist Marlon Devonish of England put up a sterling fight for a medal after sprinting to 21.15, 20.90 and 20.70 clockings before the 34-year-old World indoor champion from 2003 made yet another final in a long athletic career.
GOLD: Leon Baptiste (ENG) 20.45
SILVER: Lansford Spence (JAM) 20.49
BRONZE: Christian Malcolm (WAL) 20.52
Monday October 11
1pm – women's discus final
Indians delight with clean sweep
A trio of Indian women created history by not only claiming all three medals in this exhilarating event but also by capturing India’s first ever track and field gold medal on the women’s side.
Krishna Poonia (61.51m), Kaur Harwant (60.16m) and Seema Antil (58.46m) put on a breathtaking display for the home crowd as they dominated a field which included the reigning champion and the Games record-holder.
It was the 28-year-old Poonia, who has a best of 63.69m this year, who stole the show with her first round winning effort which ignited her two team-mates into action to clinch an unprecedented clean-sweep of the silverware.
Following two fouls, the champion attempted to increase her advantage but could only reach 58.80m and 58.27 following another no-mark but regardless, still sent the stadium into frenzy.
Harwant, 30, threw consistently around the 57-60m mark and her best of 60.16 in the third round was enough to comfortably hold off the challenge of the third home entrant, Antil – the 27-year-old whose best effort came in the third round of a series in which she remained in the 55-58m area.
Further back by 47cm, Wales’ Phillipa Roles finished a credible fourth, courtesy of her 57.99m throw in the first round. The 32-year-old Welsh champion fouled in the second and third round and registered marks of 56.15m, 56.69 and 56.01 in her following efforts.
Just behind New Zealand’s Beatrice Faumuina – the 35-year-old Games record-holder (57.79m) was England’s Jade Nicholls in sixth position.
The 23-year-old Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier and UK champion had a best of 57.62m from her second of three rounds to match her 54.79m and 56.42 throws – one place behind the reigning champion, South Africa’s Elizna Naude (57.61m).
GOLD: Krishna Poonia (IND) 61.51m
SILVER: Kaur Harwant (IND) 60.16m
BRONZE: Seema Antil (IND) 58.46m
2pm – men's 3000m steeplechase final
Kenyans dominate, Stokes returns
In arguably one of the strongest events at the Games, a trio of top Kenyans annihilated the opposition in breathtaking fashion over the final 800m to grab the three medals at stake in scintillating style.
World champion Ezekiel Kemboi went straight into the lead with Uganda’s Benjamin Kiplagat, the 2008 World junior silver-medallist for company, as England’s Luke Gunn settled into the fourth spot.
Moving up to second after 300m behind Kiplagat and ahead of two Indian athletes, Gunn looked comfortable as the three Kenyans suddenly appeared to be happy to sit at the back of the pack and relax amongst Stuart Stokes of England.
With the first kilometre passed in an easy 2:51.32, Gunn continued his gutsy display whilst sharing the lead at three minutes in, with the Kenyans still jogging to tactically pace themselves near the rear.
Around the mid-way stage the 33-year-old Stokes moved up into fifth position, as his African counterparts started to gradually up the tempo. Gunn, meanwhile – the 25-year-old UK champion seeking redemption after missing this summer’s European championships - gamely held on behind Kiplagat.
With the action hotting up around the five minute mark, a sharp sudden injection of pace saw the Kenyans shoot away, with Gunn and Stokes sticking to their task in the fifth and sixth spots.
As Kemboi, the 28-year-old reigning champion and 2004 Olympic gold-medallist became impatient with the slow pace, the leaders hit 2km in 5:43.06 and at six-minutes in, the trio and Kiplagat pulled 50m clear from Gunn and Stokes, who worked together to remain strong.
With the pace constantly increasing by the second courtesy of further injections from Olympic and World medallist Mateelong and his team-mate Kemboi, a thrilling last circuit was ascertained as the trio hit the bell all in close contention.
Coming off the final water-jump, Mateelong dug in deep to take his first championship title (in 8:16.39) three days before his 27th birthday in a tight finish from Kemboi (8:18.47), with the 25-year-old Olympic champion Kipruto a clear third (8:19.65).
Beijing and Berlin finalist Kiplagat came home in fourth (8:24.15) ahead of Stokes, whose 8:32.24 season’s best maintained the Sale Harrier’s fine record in this event, following fourth and fifth place in the past two editions despite returning from semi-retirement last year.
Gunn, from Derby AC, finished in seventh position with 8:40.44, his slowest of the season.
GOLD: Richard Mateelong (KEN) 8:16.39
SILVER: Ezekiel Kemboi (KEN) 8:18.47
BRONZE: Brimin Kipruto (KEN) 8:19.65
Men’s 100m T46
Australia’s Simon Patmore sped to an 11.14 lifetime best in taking the men’s T46 100m, as the 23-year-old pipped Samkelo Radebe of South Africa for the gold.
The 21-year-old runner-up clocked 11.25 ahead of Ayuba Abdullahi (NGR), who at aged 20, took the bronze in a time of 11.37.
England’s 17-year-old Ola Abidogun performed strongly to place fifth in a time of 11.50.
Men’s 1500m T54
Multiple World and Olympic medallist Kurt Fearnley took the men’s T54 1500m victory in 3:19.86 as the 29-year-old Australian came home ahead of his team-mate 25-year-old Richard Colman (3:20.90).
Canada’s Josh Cassidy took the bronze, as the 25-year-old registered 3:21.14 three places ahead of Wales’ Brian Alldis, 24 (3:21.85).
Men’s shot F32/34/52
It was 27-year-old Canadian Kyle Pettey who stole the show, setting a superb new F34 World record of 11.34 in the men’s shot.
England’s Daniel West (F34) placed runner-up with a solid 10.78 throw ahead of Australia’s 36-year-old Hamish McDonald (F34) with 9.92m.
Welsh duo Ashleigh Hellyer and Daniel Davies finished fifth and seventh, respectively, as the 19-year-old pair in the F32 class threw 6.80, and 4.50m – a season’s best for the latter.
Women’s 100m T37
England’s Katrina Hart scorched to an impressive 14.36 personal best when taking the women’s T37 100m final.
The 20-year-old finished comfortably ahead of Wales’ Jenny McLoughlin (19), who equalled her 14.68 best and Nambia’s Johanna Benson (14.81).
England’s 17-year-old Bethany Woodward finished sixth in 15.27.
Women’s 1500m T54
At the age of 39, Canada’s Diane Roy dominated the women’s T54 1500m in a scintillating 3:53.95.
At the other end of the age spectrum, Nigeria’s 18-year-old Chineme Obeta finished runner-up in 4:09.29 as Anita Fordjour (28 of Ghana) clocked a lifetime best of 4:18.83 for the bronze.
Women’s shot F32-34/52/53
Australia’s Louise Ellery took the women’s F32 class in the shot, courtesy of the 33-year-old’s 6.17m personal best effort.
England’s 27-year-old Gemma Prescott captured the F32 silver medal with a 5.54m throw and placed third in the overall competition behind 20-year-old Jess Hamill of New Zealand, who in the F34 class took victory with 7.17m.
Tuesday October 12
1pm – women's pole-vault final
Equal bronze upset for Dennison
After being strongly tipped to claim the gold medal following a 4.55m season’s best, UK record-holder Kate Dennison of England once again bowed to championship pressure as she was reduced to equal third (with 4.25m) in a weak contest.
Taking advantage of the occasion and Dennison’s off-day was Australia’s Alana Boyd, who leapt an equal 2010 best of 4.40m after first-time clearances at 4.10m, 4.25 and her winning height.
The 26-year-old boasts a 4.56 lifetime best and was recently sixth in the IAAF/VTB Continental Cup in Split with 4.35 before claiming her first major championship title here.
Also leaping to her first international medal in second place was 20-year-old Marianna Zacharadi of Cyprus, who missed her first attempt at 4.25 before clearing 4.40m on her first try.
Both athletes had three misses at 4.55m as they attempted to decide a clear winner.
Continuing her poor form from this summer’s European championships where she placed sixth, Dennison cleared 4.10m and 4.25m with ease but failed on all three attempts at a lowly – by her standards – 4.40m.
Canadian duo Carly Dockendorf and Kelsie Hendry had the exact same series so shared the bronze-medal position with the 26-year-old from Sale who placed sixth in the 2009 World championships, which was nevertheless an improvement on seventh place four years ago.
For 27-year-old Dockendorf, the result was solid as her 2010 best stands at only 4.45m but for Hendry (eighth in 2006) too, equal bronze with 4.40m was a disappointment as the 28-year-old was sixth in the World indoor final back in the spring.
Further back in seventh place on her senior championship debut, England’s Emma Lyons cleared 4.10 behind Australia’s Amanda Bisk (4.25m).
The 23-year-old Sale Harrier – with a best of 4.25m this season - cleared 3.65m and 3.80m on her first attempts, 3.90 on her second and her final height on her first try.
The English champion, who was twelfth in the 2009 European under23 championships, had three misses at 4.25m but performed solidly in her first senior experience.
Welsh duo Sally Peake (3.95m) and Bryony Raine (3.80m) finished ninth and twelfth, respectively, as they continued their development admirably.
Peake, the 24-year-old Welsh runner-up, has made a 50cm improvement on her best in 2010 and the Liverpool Harrier cleared 3.80m and 3.85m on the first occasion before having three misses at 4.10m.
Cardiff’s Raine, 24, had first-time clearances at 3.65 and 3.80m before conceding three misses at 3.95m.
Scotland’s Henrietta Paxton, meanwhile, no-marked in the straight final despite a 4.35m best this year.
GOLD: Alana Boyd (AUS) 4.40m
SILVER: Marianna Zacharadi (CYP) 4.40m
BRONZE: Kate Dennison (ENG)/ Carly Dockendorf (CAN)/Kelsie Hendry (CAN) 4.25m
1.25pm – women's 4x100m final
English lions roar to success
In marvellous dominant fashion, the English quartet gave a master-class of high-quality baton changes, as their confidence and team camaraderie shown through in a powerful display of speed to capture the Commonwealth crown by over a second in 44.19.
In a straight, open final, the English ladies took their sixth title in the history of these Games from underdogs and surprise medallists, Ghana (45.24) and India (45.25).
With the Jamaicans’ lower-ranked development squad being disqualified for a faulty change-over, the Nigerian outfit took fourth place after recovering from a fall just after the third change to finish fourth in a distant 48.87.
The victors in lane four started their campaign with 100m silver-medallist Katherine Endacott, who capped a brilliant week after taking five years out to have a daughter by closing down the Jamaicans on her outside in quick fashion, clocking an impressive...split to get the golden ball rolling.
A smooth changeover followed onto UK record-holder Montell Douglas, who flew down the back straight to show signs of a return to top form following injury this year with a scintillating... split before passing onto Laura Turner.
Determined to make amends after falling foul of disqualification in the individual 100m earlier in the week, Turner had a strong .... run ahead of passing onto England’s comeback queen Abi Oyepitan.
The 200m runner-up from the previous day in 23.26, Oyepitan sped off to instant 10m lead in her first relay in an injury-ravaged six years to power home superbly in a....leg to anchor England to a glorious gold.
GOLD: England 44.19
SILVER: Ghana 45.24
BRONZE: India 45.25
2.20pm – women's 5000m final
Kenyans sweep, Twell matures
Kenya predictably collected their ninth gold medal of the week as a trio of their top athletes sped away over the final 400m to comfortably take the top three spots from Scotland’s fast-maturing Steph Twell in fourth.
Starting at a pedestrian 85.1 second pace, Twell and her Scottish team-mate Freya Murray jogged at the head of the nine-woman pack with Australia’s Eloise Wellings for company, as the Kenyans – Vivian Cheriuyot, Sylvia Kibet and Innes Chenonge - bided their time at the rear.
Going through the first kilometre in 3:28.23, Murray and Twell maintained their positions, whilst England’s sole representative, 19-year-old Charlotte Purdue lay tucked in at the back with the eventual medallists.
It was not until the four-minute mark when World champion and IAAF Diamond League series winner Cheruiyot made a move to the head of the field, where she remained relaxed with Twell moving up to her side.
With 2km passed in 6:53.03, the pace was still comfortable, as the three Kenyans gradually applied the pressure ahead of 27-year-old Wellings and Twell.
Determined to hang onto her position, 20-year-old Twell, the former World junior 1500m champion, returned to the shoulder of Cheriuyot nearing the 3km point (10:02.64) as the pace further increased, with Murray and Purdue still working hard to cling onto the pack.
Thirteen minutes in and the pace grew hotter at 73-second laps, with Twell – third in the 1500m earlier in the week - running stride for stride with the 26-year-old recent Continental Cup winner Cheruiyot (who has ran 14:27.41 to Twell’s 14:54.08 this summer).
With Purdue - Twell’s training partner at Aldershot, Farnham and District with coach Mick Woods – now slightly ahead of 27-year-old Murray from Edinburgh, the leading group was reduced to five as 4km was passed in 13:09.86.
With five women in contention for three medals and 600m remaining, Cheruiyot gently moved through the gears to up the pace and at the bell, stretched out with her two team-mates from Twell in a clear fourth, still battling on.
With Wellings - sixth in the 10,000m earlier in the week in 33:36.76 - 20m adrift, Twell duly powered on in the wake of her African counterparts, as Purdue stormed the final 800m to pull away from Murray – both performing admirably following their 10,000m exertions (fourth in 33:13.02 and fifth in 33:24.59, respectively).
The event was ultimately reduced to a two-woman battle in the final 200m as Cheruiyot and 26-year-old World silver-medallist Kibet pulled clear of 2002 bronze-medallist Chenonge.
Sprinting strongly, Cheriuyot kicked away again in the final 50m to take victory in 15:55.12 form Kibet’s 15:55.61.
Taking bronze, Chenonge clocked 16:02.47 as Twell finished strongly to register 16:03.91 in fourth position to finish a commendable weeks’ work in her debut competitions for Scotland.
Purude, the 2009 European junior runner-up and English champion this summer, used the speed which saw her clock a 15:23.40 lifetime best this summer after returning from injury to finish sixth behind Wellings in 16.16.13 to the Australian’s 16:11.97.
UK and Scottish champion, Murray finished in seventh place with 16:26.22.
GOLD: Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) 15:55.12
SILVER: Sylvia Kibet (KEN) 15:55.61
BRONZE: Iness Chenonge (KEN) 16:02.47
3.20pm – men's 4x400m final
Close call in one lap relay
In a thrilling final event of the action on the track, England’s men claimed the bronze medal in a tight-finish behind winners Australia and runners-up Kenya.
Clocking 3:03.97 to Australia’s 3:03.30 and Kenya’s 3:03.84, the English quartet of Conrad Williams (46.0), Nick Leavey (46.2), Rick Yates (46.2) and Rob Tobin (45.4) pushed medal favourites the Bahamas into fourth place (with 3:04.45) in an exhilarating race which saw Melbourne bronze-medallists Jamaica disqualified.
After placing second in their heat behind the Kenyans in 3:05.34, England started off strongly, courtesy of Williams’ strong opening – a few days after finishing seventh in the individual semi-final (in 47.02).
Williams came home first ahead of 400m fifth-placer Joel Millburn of Australia (46.1), Wales’ 400m hurdles bronze-medallist Rhys Williams (46.2) and Kenya’s Vincent Koskei (46.4) in a tight opening.
Flying off on the second leg, English 400m champion Leavey shot straight into the lead for the first 200m as the Bahamas (through 400m fourth-placer Michael Mathieu in a swift 44.9), Kenya and Australia pushed through round the top bend before Wales’ Joe Thomas (seventh in the 800m) caught the pack with a superb 45.8 to keep Wales in contention.
With the medals still undecided, Australia’s Brendan Cole (46.0) marginally retained the lead from the Bahamas and England, as Yates – fifth in the 400m hurdles - finished strongly to bring the squad into the runners-up spot with one leg to go. Meanwhile, Wales’ Chris Gowell, a semi-finallist in the 800m, ran 48.4.
With the crowd going wild and the race still any teams’ for the taking, the final lap saw fireworks, with several 45-second splits registered.
Australia’s 400m silver-medallist Sean Wroe (45.1) set off in determined fashion ahead of Tobin (45.4) and Kenya’s 400m champion Mark Muttai (45.0) in close contention.
With Botswana’s Obakeng Ngwininga (45.3) and 400m bronze-medallist Ramon Miller of the Bahamas (45.1) applying the pressure also, five teams were left scrapping for the medals with just 100m remaining.
In scintillating style it was Australia who stretched away from Kenya and England in the dying metres, as Olympic and two-time Commonwealth champions the Bahamas pipped Botswana for fourth, ahead of Wales - who used 800m fourth-placer Gareth Warburton on the anchor, with 46.3 - in sixth (3:06.91).
Guernsey, meanwhile, failed to qualify for the final, finishing fifth in their heat with 3:14.51.
GOLD: AUS 3:03.30
SILVER: KEN 3:03.84
BRONZE: ENG 3:03.97