It proved to be a terrific Tuesday evening for North American athletics at Hampden Park as Jamaica and Canada claimed 5 gold medals between them on day 3 of the Commonwealth athletics on a night of near misses for Team England as they picked up an excellent 5 silver medals.
Following an early evening victory in the triple jump the Jamaicans went on overdrive as first they claimed a sensational clean sweep in the women’s 400m before Andrew Riley took 110metres hurdles gold.
For the Canadian’s it was Decathlete Damian Warner and Hammer thrower Jim Steacy, who pushed England’s Mark Dry into second, who lead the way with victories, as Kate Van Buskirk also took a surprise bronze in the women’s 1500m.
As was to be the theme of the evening, it was a Jamaican understudy Stephanie Mcpherson who claimed 400m gold from her more favoured team mates, with a huge burst from 3rd to 1st in the home straight seeing her snatch victory from long-time leader Novlene Williams-Mills and win in 50.67.
While silver will come as some consolation for Williams-Mills, former world champ Amantle Montsho missed out on the podium all together as she went from challenging for gold to being overtaken by Christine Day for 3rd in the space of 20 metres.
Excelling in the absence of WL team-mate Hansle Parment, Riley showed why he is the second fastest man in the Commonwealth this year to pull away from the rest of the field after 50 metres and just hold on for victory from England’s William Sharman winning by .04 in 13.32 seconds with Shane Brathwaite of Bahamas 3rd. For Sharman there were mixed emotions as he took a second consecutive Commonwealth Silver, afterwards he said: “I’m happy to have got a medal, it was a very close race that could have gone either way….Credit to the winner he ran a very good race”
Jamaica’s dominance on day 3 wasn’t just on the track as Kimberly Williams, 4th at London 2012, showed her class to win the women’s triple jump, from England’s Laura Samuel and Trinidad’s Ayanna Alexander.
Having already secured victory with her first round 14.11, Williams saved the best until last to finish with a leap of 14.21, behind her Samuels produced a breakthrough performance on the international stage as the 2010 World junior silver medallist was reward for her first 14 metre +jump of her career with silver.
Speaking in the mix zone an understandably ecstatic Samuels admitted her surprise and delight at her performance: “I definitely I didn’t expect to medal, to get through to the final was amazing for me.
“It was just about giving my all, so to get a personal best, at the Commonwealth Games is amazing.”
Another British Breakthrough and arguably the best English performance of the night came from Laura Weightman, 21, as she continued her excellent year on the track to take 1500m silver behind Kenya’s Faith Kibiegon, who proved just too strong for the Steve Cram coached athlete.
After the race she said: “That was absolutely amazing, I don’t think words could actually describe how that felt to get my first international medal in front of my family and friends is absolutely amazing!” she added “It’s been a huge summer so far going four flat and then getting my first medal, I’m so glad to have executed my race how I wanted to.”
Silver also went to Decathlete Ashley Bryant as 2 big performances in the Javelin and the 1500m saw him he swap places with team mate John Lane and climb to 2nd. Victory went to Canadian Damian Warner as he inevitably converted his lead from start to finish into Commonwealth Gold. For Lane a poor final session saw his drop out of the medals as he was overtaken by Bryant and Grenada’s Kurt Felix.
Warner’s team mate and fellow favorite Brianne Theison-Eaton is looking likely to emulate his success as she heads she the women’s Heptathlon by 195 points from team mate Jess Zelinka.
An evening of close finishes had began in the women’s 10,000m where Joyce Chepkiruiu kicked off the Tuesday evening’s gold rush in the most dramatic of fashions as she won the battle of the sprint finishes to snatch victory from Kenyan record holder Florence Kiplagat in the last 5 metres and take the title.
As Kiplagat broke for home with 150m to go, it seemed as though she would not be caught, but Chepkirui still sensing gold could be hers, continued to speed up, and eventually took her compatriot on the inside to win by .13 of a second in a personal best time 32.09.45.
Completing a Kenyan clean sweep in 3rd was Emily Chebet as part of personal bests from 3rd to 6th position. In the Battle of the Brits it was Kate Avery came out victorious in even tighter circumstances as she beat Scotland’s Beth Potter by just .01 of a second to finish 4th. Although Potter will be annoyed to have been caught by Avery, she can take great credit for the way she ran, twice countering surges from the Kenyan’s before taking the lead at the 7k mark before the African’s extra gear became apparent.