Nijel Amos shone the brightest on a wet night at Hampden Park to hail on David Rudisha’s dream of winning Commonwealth Gold as Britain’s women continued their mesmeric rise in the world of sprinting.
Coming into this race with confidence having already beaten him twice this year, Amos allowed Rudisha to adopt his usual front running style for 700m, before producing an incredible burst of speed on the home straight that that the Olympic Champion just couldn’t handle.
Amos had recovered well from being boxed in with 50m to go as his training partner Andre Oliver of South Africa moved wide to allow him to make his move; an act of good will for which Oliver was rewarded with by winning bronze ahead of Kenyan Ferguson Riotch.
Speaking afterwards about the situation Amos said: “I panicked a little bit, I checked the screen and I saw that, oh sh*t I’m in a box, it’s not easy to go out but my training partner was behind me, he saw that I wanted to go out so he slipped a little bit for me…I’m lucky that I have someone that cares so much for me that they would do that for me.”
Oliver added: “I had to move outwards otherwise the coach wouldn’t have been happy with me, but I also had to get myself free and move out for my push to the line, with 50m to go I just closed my eyes and hoped I could get 3rd”
As for his victory, Amos dedicated it to his brother “this gold medal today means a lot for me, today was my brother’s birthday, I told him I’d give him a present and I did.”
For Rudisha, it was once more his final 100m that let him down as his lack of kick caused by a late start to the season became apparent. Despite the result the Kenyan stayed gracious congratulating Amos immediately, speaking afterwards he remained positive: “it wasn’t so bad, I’m happy to have run a fast race, but the fact is that I wished I could have done better than that and won the gold medal. Let me not forget that it has been a tough season for me and I’m happy with my progress so far, as I really didn’t have enough time to do my preparation.”
Asked if he was now the number 1, Amos dismissed the suggestion:” I don’t think I’m the man in 800m, I think I’m the man after I break the world record!” adding on his rival Rudisha: “I have great respect for Rudisha, he’s the only man I know who can go for it in the 800m even when he’s not fit, I always tell him ‘my brother, I respect you for that.’”
In the women’s 200m, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare continued her rise towards becoming the star of the games as she proved too strong for her opponents winning comfortably in 22.25 as England’s women claimed an amazing 2-3-4 headed by British Champion, Jodie Williams, who went to joint 2nd in the UK all-time lists after running 22.50 for silver. Finishing ahead of Bianca Williams in 22.58, who is now joint 4th fastest all-time, Anika Onoura was the unlucky athlete as she became the fastest women in history not win a Commonwealth medal, finishing 4th in a personal best 22.64.
Unsurprisingly, both of the Williams’ were delighted post-race: “I’m overwhelmed really, It was such a good feeling!” said Jodie “we dug deep we knew what we needed to do and we got a medal. That’s what we came here to do in the beginning and that’s what we’ve achieved!” added Bianca.
As for her lifetime best performance Jodie said: “it’s so nice to come to a championship and run a PB because it means you actually gave your all and that’s why I was battling to the line! “I knew it would take a PB to win a medal, all the others girls were in such good form,”
The pair will now turn their attention to the 4x100m relay where a gold medal and British record could be taken, and it appears the fancy their chances: “hell yeah, definitely! We’ve got an amazing team and an amazing group of girls and I absolutely can’t wait we’re going to try and take out the Jamaicans, so watch this space!”
In the men’s 200m there was another clean sweep on British soil for Jamaica, just as they had done at London 2012. Warren Weir, 3rd then, was this time 2nd behind former world universities champion Rasheed Dwyer winner in 20.14; Jason Livermore completed the procession in 3rd.
Jazmin Sawyers made it two long jump medals in two days for Team England, taking a surprise silver after a season’s best jump of 6.54m to finish 2nd behind Nigerian 18 year-old Ese Brume.
Sawyers had come into the competition outside the Commonwealth top 20, but that did not stop her as first she went into 3rd in round 3 before moving up to 2nd with her last jump.
The 20 year-old seemed as shocked as anybody to make the podium: “There’s too much to sum up! I’m still do not quite believe it; it’s one of those things where I’ve gone at the start of the year ‘let’s try and put a pipe dream in there and win a Commonwealth medal’, and now I’ve actually won a medal and I can’t believe it!”
Silver was also the medal awarded to home favourite and poster girl Eilidh Child in the 400mh as she pushed herself to her max, backed by the incredible Hampden roar, but couldn’t quite overcome world leader and victor Kaliese Spencer as she pulled away over the last two hurdles to crown an excellent season with gold in a time of 54.10.
By coming 2nd Child became the first female hurdler ever to win consecutive Commonwealth Games silvers.
Cornel Fredricks of South Africa, was an easy winner in the men’s 400 hurdles, where he led from the gun to take gold in 48.50, behind him Trinidadian world champion, Jehue Gordon won the battle of the Caribbean for silver by just .03 of a second from Bahamas’ Jefferey Gibson. Niall Flannery a last minute addition to the final came an impressive 4th in his first major championship.
After taking silver on home soil in 2010, India’s Vikas Gowda Shive threw 63.64m to go one better 4 years on, and take victory in the men’s discus throw. Winning from Cypriot Apostolos Parellis, 4th in Delhi, Shive led from round three and despite 2 fouls thereafter, he was not overtaken. In 3rd was Jamaica’s James Morgan as he furthered Jamaica’s brilliant performance all round with their 3rd field medal of the championships.
The women’s 800m semi-finals produced a mix bag of performances for the British athletes; as Jessica Judd ran an excellent tactical race to streak away from her rivals and win the second heat in 2:02.26. In the same race Scotland’s Emily Dudgeon ran a brilliantly but was sadly overtaken in the home strait by New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin to finish 4th and also outside the fastest losers spots, which went to her team mate Lynsey Sharp and England’s Jenny Meadows, who were both slightly under par in the first semi.
The night’s track magic was kicked off with two brilliant T54 1500m races where first Australia’s Angela Ballard produced a superb last minute burst to go past long-time leader Diane Roy in the final 30 metres and take victory, before England’s Paralympic superstar David Weir took gold after stunning last 300m where he left the defending champion in his wake.
The excellent night of action concluded with the women’s 110 metre hurdles heats with Tiffany Porter and Sally Pearson both winning their races to set up a potentially epic match up in the final.