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more medals for british athletes at glasgow 2014

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Eilidh Child
31 July 2014

Despite the rain, it was another fantastic night of athletics from Glasgow’s Hampden Park, with six British athletes winning medals much to the delight of the sell-out crowd.

The biggest roar was saved for poster girl Eilidh Child (coach: Malcolm Arnold) though, as she was roared home to a silver medal in the 400m hurdles. Given her status in Scotland, the pressure was on to deliver in front of her home crowd, and she didn’t disappoint, running a strong race to finish second in 55.02.

Gold went to Diamond League leader Kaliese Spencer, who put together a world class performance, running a blistering 54.10 in tricky conditions. Child could therefore be happy with the result, and her performance, of which she said:

"I will cherish this silver medal because I’m happy with the way I performed. It wasn’t the fastest race I’ve run but there was a lot of expectation and I’ve coped with that. I always said I can’t control what other people can do – that’s the reality in sport.

"I tried to shut out the crowd a bit beforehand and concentrate on what I had to do. Afterwards it was amazing and the lap of honour was something very special."

There was gold for David Weir (Jenny Archer) in the T54 1500m, the six time Paralympic champion adding the Commonwealth Games title to his ever growing collection. He lived up to his favourites tag, attacking down the back-straight on the final lap to break clear of the rest of the field and take victory in 3.21.67, over a second clear of second place.

Weir’s training partner Will Smith (Archer) also had a great race to finish fifth, but nothing could match the roar of the man they call ‘the Weirwolf’ as he crossed the finishing line punching the air.

“It’s a nice feeling to complete the set of medals – it was in the back of my mind after London 2012 to retire but this was why I carried on because I’d not represented England or won gold here.

"I was a bit worried about the weather all week because the manufacturers of my gloves don't make them anymore – I’ve been trying different stuff and it’s not been working in the rain. I prayed that I had a bit of grip for the sprint at the end and I did. It’s so much more difficult in the rain – I was going wide in certain parts because there were puddles and I wanted to avoid the spray and you want your push rims to stay dry as long as possible."

Namesakes Jodie and Bianca did what they had been threatening to do throughout the qualifying rounds of the women’s 200m, tearing down the straight to take silver and bronze on a memorable night for British female sprinting. Jodie Williams (Christine Bowmaker) couldn’t stop favourite Blessing Okagbare, who won the 100m title on Monday, but she did smash her lifetime best with a 22.50 clocking to get second. In fact there were personal bests for all three Team England athletes, with Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) running 20.58 and Anyika Onuora (Rana Reider) running 22.64 to agonizingly miss out on a medal with a fourth place finish.

Both medallists were rightly delighted with their performances, with Jodie commenting:

“I’m just amazed at the moment – I’m kind of in a big world of shock! I came in ranked second and I just had to perform and do it – I’m absolutely over the moon. The celebrations were amazing and this crowd are absolutely incredible – everyone wants to see you and everyone wants to speak to you. It’s an amazing atmosphere in here.”

There were similar emotions for Bianca Williams, who added:

“I am absolutely gobsmacked – I couldn’t have asked for any more. It’s been such a journey over the last four years for me to get here, and before the season the Commonwealths wasn’t even on the list. To come sixth in the 100m and then third here is amazing.”

This all bodes extremely well for the Team England women’s 4x100m team, who will have a good chance of going for gold on Saturday night, and the silver medallist added:

“This is just the start – we beat the Jamaicans which is a massive thing. Everyone is so quick to write-off the women’s sprinters but we’ve come out here and started to show we can perform on this stage with a strong field.”

It was a Jamaican clean sweep in the men’s final, with Rasheed Dwyer taking gold in 20.14 ahead of Warren Weir. Team England’s Danny Talbot (Dan Cossins) ran a strong race, but such was the quality of the field, 20.45 only got him seventh.

In the women’s long jump final, Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) jumped out of her skin to bag a surprise silver medal. The former World and European junior medallist jumped 6.47m in round three to leave her in the bronze medal position; however she wasn’t done there, pulling out a season’s best 6.54m effort in the final round to clinch silver. Afterwards, a delighted Sawyers commented:

“I still can’t quite believe it! I was trying to keep my cool going into the last jump because I knew I already had a medal. I could have so easily crumpled to the floor and gone all over the place then but I thought to myself, hold it together, you could still go further and I actually did!

“There has been no pressure on me, nobody had me in for a medal, and it was very much for me to go out and enjoy it. Everyone that knows me has told me to go out and enjoy it, because that’s when I jump my best. There’s no point being serious and focused, it doesn’t work for me. I have got to be smiling and bouncing around.”

Lorraine Ugen also performed well, jumping a season’s best of 6.39m in the final round to secure a fifth place finish. There was huge disappointment for Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) though, who was forced to retire from the competition after picking up an injury during her opening jump.

There was bronze for Jade Jones (Ian Thompson) in the women’s T54 1500m, the Team England athlete coping well with the wet conditions. She moved into third from the bell, holding it all the way to line, with Team Scotland’s Samantha Kinghorn (Mirfin) performing well to take fifth.

“We don't tend to do so well in the rain and when I saw the weather I was pretty nervous. I knew I had to keep my cool otherwise things would go very wrong but this was a really unexpected outcome.The rain changed the race so much, it really spread us out because some girls cope better with it than others.

“My aim coming in was top five, but I never for a moment thought I'd get a medal. This is up there with my best achievements and it's a great learning curve as we look towards the Paralympics in two years’ time.”

It was sixth for Shelly Woods (Archer), with Meggan Dawson-Farrell (Ian Mirfin) taking seventh and sixteen year old Lauren Rowles (Job King) performing admirably in ninth.

The men’s 800m final was without a doubt one of the most hotly anticipated races of these Commonwealth Games, with Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha taking on the London 2012 silver medallist Nijel Amos. The race didn’t fail to disappoint, as coming off the final bend, Rudisha kicked for home and looked to have it won. However with a late surge, Amos flew past the Kenyan to cross the line arms aloft.

Whilst Amos’ 1.45.18 clocking wasn’t anything to write home about, there was a 1.46.69 personal best and sixth place finish for Team Scotland’s Guy Learmonth (George Gandy) who edged out Michael Rimmer (Jon Bigg) on the line.

After only making the 400m hurdles final due to a late disqualification, Niall Flannery (Nick Dakin) ran a great race from lane one to take fourth. In a world class field, he attacked off the final bend, but ran out of track to drag himself up into the medals. Never-the-less, it was a great run by the Team England runner at his first senior championships.

Richard Yates (Stephen Ball) was pleased to make the final, coming through an extremely tough qualification round, which saw the Commonwealth Games record holder amongst others eliminated. He finished seventh on the night.

In a men’s discus final won by Indian Vikas Shive Gowda, Brett Morse of Team Wales was the leading British athlete, finishing fifth with a best throw of 60.48m. He was followed by Carl Myerscough in seventh and Jersey’s Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) in eighth, the islander having contested the shot put final earlier in the week.  Scottish record holder Angus McInroy (Hugh Murray) bowed out after three attempts with a best 54.12m.

As many had predicted, the women’s 800m semi-finals threw up bags of drama, especially in the first of two semis. With the first three guaranteed a final berth, the Brits were queuing up behind Eunice Sum of Kenya as they went through the bell in 58 seconds. However with 200m to go, Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) had gone backwards and Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) was also starting to tire.

But perhaps inspired by the occasion, Sharp rallied down the home-straight, craned her neck and grabbed fourth ahead of Meadows. Occupying the two fastest loser’s spots, this led to a nervous wait. In the same heat, there was fantastic new lifetime best of 2.02.63 for Northern Ireland’s Katie Kirk (Mark Kirk) in sixth, whilst Marilyn Okoro (Johnny Gray) faded from contention to finish eighth.

Jess Judd (Rob Denmark) was intent on leaving nothing to chance in the second semi-final, leading from gun to tape. However at 600m Scotland’s Emily Dudgeon (Stuart Hogg) moved up onto her shoulder, and despite being willed home by the crowd, she was out-dipped on the line for the third qualification spot.

This meant it came down to times, and thanks to their 2.02.28 and 2.02.29 clocking’s, Sharp and Meadows will line up alongside Judd in tomorrow night’s final. Of her run, Sharp commented:

"I don’t know what to say about that but I just need to re-focus for the final. It needs to be a lot different from that and back to the way I have been racing this season. I came through strongly at the end but I won’t win races running like that."

Jade Lally (Andrew Neal), Eden Francis (Glenys Morton) and Team Scotland’s Kirsty Yates (Jim Edwards) all made it through to the women’s discus final by virtue of finishing in the top twelve in the qualifying round. Shadine Duquemin (Hillier), the other Jersey sibling in athletics action at the championships, just missed out after finishing fourteenth.

Round one of the women’s 100mH brought the evening to a close, and it was very much a case of job done for Tiffany Porter (Reider) who streaked away to win the first of three heats in 12.84 and advance to the final. She was the only British athlete to progress though, as Serita Solomon (Michelle Bovell) was edged out on the line in heat two and Kylie Robilliard (Simon Wombwell) finished sixth in heat three.

Earlier in the evening  James Ellington (Reider), Chris Clarke (Steve Fudge) and Leon Reid (James Hillier) failed to advance from the 200m semi-finals after running 20.66, 20.71 and 21.03 respectively.