28th July 2014

Gold For Greaves In Glasgow

28 July 2014

On a cloudy morning at Hampden Park, Dan Greaves (coach: Jim Edwards) produced the first golden British moment of the 2014 Commonwealth Games as he took gold in the men’s F42/44 discus. The Team England athlete launched his third round throw out to 59.21m, within a metre of his British record set earlier this summer. That throw secured Greaves 1023 points to see off the challenge of F42 World Champion Aled Davies (Anthony Hughes) of Team Wales by a mere 11 points.

Of his performance, an emotional Greaves said:

“I just need this to sink in now as it’s still a little bit of a whirlwind. I’ve won gold at the Paralympics, World and European Championships but it’s such an honour to represent England at the Commonwealth Games. I’m fortunate this event is in the Games and we hopefully demonstrated para-disability sport as a tough, elite competition. There is only one position that I wanted to come home with and that was the gold medal so job done.

“This is on a par with London 2012 as the crowd are so good. After starting early they had something good to watch – I really wanted to put on a great performance and they pushed me on. I knew there was a big throw in me and the crowd is just phenomenal and I’m thankful for them for the support.”

It was mixed emotions for Team Wales captain Davies, but of his 46.83m effort and silver medal, he commented:

“It was a tough one. Coming I was aiming for gold and I knew I was capable of winning but I also knew it would be close between me and Dan. I managed to take the lead early on but Dan came out and bettered my throw. It was so close and I’m disappointed because I wanted it so much.

“I’ve never wanted to win anything more in my life and maybe that turned into a bit of a negative. I’m happy with my performance but you always think you could have thrown further. I just hope I haven’t let people down.”

Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine) and guide runner Mikail Huggins gave the crowd a reason to make some noise and wave their Saltires as they scorched to victory in their heat of women’s T11/12 100m in a world leading time of 12.23. It was a convincing but controlled running by the Paralympic silver medallists, who will line up as favourites in tonight’s final. On their performance, Clegg commented:

“I didn’t think it would be that quick. The objective was to qualify and execute our race, so it’s all good and I think there’s more in the tank. We’ll have to go back now and rest and recover ready for later. The crowd is absolutely fantastic – it’s so uplifting. Every Scottish athlete is going to get a massive boost.”

In the final heat, Tracey Hinton of Wales also progressed to the final with a 13.79 victory. Could we see two further British medals this evening?

The women’s 1500m heats went very much to script, both in terms of qualifiers and that Laura Muir (coach: Andy Young) would get one of the biggest cheers of the morning. The new Scottish record holder went in the first of two heats, knowing a place in the top four would see her qualify automatically for tomorrow night’s final. Typically, the Scot ran a smart race, moving up into a qualification position with 600m to go, and maintaining it all the way to the finish.

Perhaps the only surprising thing was that it wasn’t a slow, tactical race, as Kenyan Hellen Obiri ran all the way to the line to break the Commonwealth Games record with a 4.04.43 clocking. Muir took third, with Team England’s Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) also progressing in fourth, recording a season’s best time to boot.

The second heat was more of the same, with Team England’s Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) taking third to secure her safe passage. Jemma Simpson (Mark Rowland) also contested that one, finishing fifth and making the final by the skin of her teeth as the last fastest loser.

It went to the form book in the men’s 400m too, with Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider) the sole British winner in the final heat. He looked extremely controlled all the way, easing down to stop the clock at 45.57. Team England also had two further qualifiers, with Michael Bingham (George Williams) looking smooth finishing second behind Kirani James in 45.80 and Nigel Levine (Linford Christie) finishing fourth in heat one to book himself a fastest losers spot after running 46.35. That was that as far as the home nations were concerned.

There was success in the men’s hammer qualifying as Alex Smith (Shane Peacock) and Nick Miller (John Baumann) of Team England surpassed the 70 metre automatic qualifying mark in qualifying pool A, whilst Mark Dry (Tore Gustafsson) of Team Scotland achieved the same feat in pool B.

In the end  both of Dry’s teammates Chris Bennett  and Andy Frost (Lorraine Shaw), Amir Williamson (Malcolm Fenton) of Team England and Dempsey McGuigan of Team Northern Ireland did enough to secure top twelve spots meaning they too progress to the final. With Britain boasting seven of the twelve finalists, expect a medal or two tomorrow night.

The men’s high jump qualification pools ran simultaneously and four British men cleared 2.20m, which saw them safely through to the final. Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) led the way, with first time clearances at every height in pool A. Martyn Bernard, Tom Parsons (Aston Moore) and Ray Bobrownicki (John Melvin) all cleared 2.20m with their second attempts in pool B to the delight of the home crowd. Unfortunately for Scottish namesakes Allan and David Smith (both Fuzz Ahmed) it wasn’t to be, with Allan not starting and David bowing out at 2.16m.

The men’s decathlon also got underway this morning, with seven British men in action. It was Team Wales’ David Guest (Mike Guest) who got off to a winning start, taking the second 100m heat with a season’s best of 10.95 to bag himself 872 points. Guest’s compatriot Curtis Matthews (Guest) was right behind him, setting a personal best of 11.03, with Ashley Bryant (Ian Grant) of Team England third in 11.10 and Peter Glass of Team Northern Ireland fourth in 11.20.

In another heat John Lane (Toni Minichiello) equalled his personal best with a 10.71 clocking, which set him up nicely for a strong morning session. He followed his 100m run with a 7.50m leap in the long jump and a 14.12 throw in the shot put, leaving him in the silver medal position after three events with a points tally of 1851. Hot on his heals is his teammate Bryant, who after a 7.56m long jump and 14.07m shot put lies fourth on 1788 points. Welsh trio of Ben Gregory (Julie Hollman), Matthews and Guest sit sixth, seventh and ninth after three events.

The only other qualifying round on the track was the men’s T37 100m, and Jason Maclean of Team Scotland made sure of his final spot with a second place finish in the first heat. Rhys Jones (Antoine) of Team Wales also took second in heat two, with Daniel Hooker of Team England qualifying as a fastest loser after finish fourth in the same heat.