29th July 2014

Silver The Order Of The Day For Team England At Glasgow 2014

29 July 2014

There were five silver medals for Team England on day three of athletics at Glasgow 2014, started off by Laura Samuel’s (Aston Moore) surprise in the triple jump and capped off by Laura Weightman’s (Steve Cram) splendid run in the women’s 1500m final.

As is often the case with championship 1500m races, it was slow and tactical affair, with the whole group still together at the bell, when Weightman decided enough was enough. She took the race by the scruff of the neck, leading until 200m to go before battling back to take silver in the last 50 metres.

In Mo Farah style, Weightman slapped her head in disbelief as she crossed the line, and it clearly meant a lot to the Steve Cram coached athlete.

"I don’t think words can quite describe what that feels like, to win your first senior medal with all your friends and family watching. I knew the pace wasn’t quick and I didn’t want to leave it a 100m sprint. I wanted to wind it up slowly and take the sting out of some people.

"It’s been a huge summer, running four minutes flat and now getting my first senior medal. I just wanted to come here and perform and not have any regrets. The 1500m is one of the strongest events here and I now believe that I can mix with the world’s best and this is a big stepping stone towards the World Championships and Olympics Games."

Weightman’s teammates Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) and Jemma Simpson (Mark Rowland) never really got into contention, finishing seventh and ninth respectively. Unfortunately Team Scotland’s Laura Muir (Andy Young) was clipped coming off the final bend, losing all momentum and fading to finish eleventh, when looking like she too might get amongst the medals.

William Sharman (Jerzy Maciukiewicz) won Commonwealth Games silver number two, following on from his achievements in Delhi four years ago. The 13.21 man got a good start, but there was nothing to really split the field over the first few hurdles, until Sharman in lane three and Andrew Riley of Jamaica in lane six started to edge ahead. It was the Team England man who perhaps held the advantage, however he clipped one of the final hurdles to lose a little momentum allowing Riley to take victory.

In the end just four thousandths of a second separated the pair, with Riley winning in 13.32; Sharman’s teammate Lawrence Clarke (Malcolm Arnold) finished eighth in 13.84.

It was mixed emotions for Sharman post-race, but he was pleased with his medal non-the-less:

“I can’t lie, I’m so happy to have got a medal. The competition in the Games this year has been very difficult, much more so than it was four years ago.

“I felt strong at the start of the race, but I hit a hurdle really badly with my trail leg and it turned me sideways a bit. If it hadn’t been for knocking it I would have run a much quicker time. I was just flipping the gears and looking to move away from the field.”

The women’s triple jump saw Laura Samuel produce the best hop, step and jump of her young career to secure a surprise silver medal. Joined in the final by her England teammate Chioma Matthews (Frank Attoh) who finished eighth, Samuels soared to that personal best in round two, after a season’s best in the first round.

Samuel nearly did it again in the final round, eclipsing her old personal best by a large margin with a 13.98m effort. In the end though, Kimberly Williams of Jamaica had saved her best until last, leaping to 14.21m to take gold.

A jubilant Samuel commented afterwards:

"I definitely didn’t think I would be returning with a medal – to get through to the final was amazing for me. I was just giving it my all and to get a personal best, the best I’ve ever jumped at the Commonwealth Games was amazing. After my second round jump I couldn’t believe it – I kept looking at the boards thinking is that really next to my name?!”

The men’s hammer final was one of the few events of the evening that went to the form book, with Canada’s Jim Steacy taking gold with a 74.16m throw in the second round. There was British success though, as Nick Miller (John Baumann) took silver for Team England and Mark Dry (Tore Gustafsson) won the host nations only medal of the evening.

Strangely all three medallists produced their best throws in the second round; Miller going out to 72.99 with Dry throwing 71.64. These were the pair’s first major championship medals and they were both rightly pleased with the result.

“It was a great experience. I thought I had a good chance of winning, but I just put everything in there. A little bit of me is disappointed not to win but I am still young, I’ve still got a lot to accomplish and this is a great starting point for me.”

Dry shared Miller’s sentiments, adding:

“I am extremely happy to be a medallist at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. In front of my home crowd, that is partially a dream come true. But I really wanted to win here.

“It was a good competition and everyone did their best but I wish I had thrown it a bit further. The other guys threw well and hats off to them. I am honoured to be in this position. I could have failed to qualify, I could have been injured or not here for whatever reason. My family are here and they are delighted with me and for me. I went around Hampden and tried to savour it a wee bit.”

As in the women’s event last night, there was British dominance with London 2012 Olympian Alex Smith (Shane Peacock) fourth and his England teammate Amir Williamson (Malcolm Fenton) sixth.

In a gruelling 1500m finale, Ashley Bryant (Ian Grant) gave a heroic effort, crossing the line in 4.38.24 to beat Kurt Felix of Grenada by over seven seconds and snatch a hard earned silver medal. It was bittersweet for Bryant’s compatriot John Lane (Toni Minichiello) who had to settle for fourth after being in a medal winning position for the first eight events. He was however rewarded with a personal best score of 7922 on his major championship debut.

Of his medal winning performance, Bryant said:

“It sounds very good to hear Ashley Bryant – Commonwealth silver medallist! Pole vault was the event where I’ve not got a PB in a long time but I’ve improved a lot and I just haven’t shown it – who thought I would have shown it when I was under the most pressure I’ve been under for the last few years?”

It was a case of make or break for the British athletes in the javelin, and Byrant strengthened his medal chance with a 66.24m throw with his final attempt to finally move into a medal position. It was the polar opposite fortunes for Lane though, who could only muster a throw of 52.25m, meaning he dropped out of the medal positions for the first time.

Team Wales duo Ben Gregory (Julie Hollman) and David Guest (Mike Guest) also acquitted themselves admirably throughout the competition, finishing sixth and eighth with a personal best of 7725 and a season’s best of 7516 respectively.

In the first track final of the evening, the field was powerless to stop a Kenyan clean sweep as Joyce Chepkirui, Florence Kiplagat and Emily Chebet clinched gold, silver and bronze. The trio distanced themselves from the rest of the field with just over 2,000m to go, but the medals weren’t decided until the final 200m, with Chepkirui snatching it on the line.

Much to the delight of the Hampden crowd, Beth Potter (Mick Woods) lead for a number of laps in second half of the race, and although she lost out on the line to Team England’s Kate Avery (Tony Simmons) in the battle for fourth, she, like Avery was rewarded with a new personal best of 32.33. There were also strong runs for Sonia Samuels (Nick Samuels) and Team Wales’ Elinor Kirk (Tony Houchin) in seventh and ninth respectively.

Running from lane eight in the women’s 400m final, Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball) couldn’t live with the scorching pace of a surprise Jamaican 1-2-3. In the end she had to settle for eighth, but can be proud of making the final and running a personal best to get there.

Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider) looked cool, calm and collected, as he attacked off the final bend to win the first of three 400m semi-finals to book his spot in tomorrow night’s final. The tall, bearded Rooney judged the race to perfection, winning easily in the end in 45.22.

Michael Bingham (George Williams) had to settle for fourth in semi-final two, his 45.71 clocking not enough for a fastest losers spot. It was a similar fate for Nigel Levine (Linford Christie), who put himself in contention with 100m to go, but faded to fifth in the final semi-final.

Shot put followed by the 200m was the order of running for the Team England trio in the women’s heptathlon, however by the close of play on day one it was Canada’s Brianne Theisen-Eaton who had asserted her authority on the competition.

Grace Clements (Grant) led the way in the shot with a 12.66m effort, with Jessica Taylor (Mike Holmes) and Jess Tappin (Julie Holman) throwing 11.95m and 11.92 respectively. In the 200m, it was Taylor who spearheaded the British charge, clocking 24.42 to end day one in third place on 3520 points. Tappin wasn’t far behind with her 24.74 run, which means she sits fifth, within striking distance of the medals. In the first heat, Clements ran 27.04 and lies eighth overnight.