England’s sprint relay teams both produced quality performances on the last day of track and field on the Gold Coast despite missing some key players. The men’s team – Reuben Arthur, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey – got the ball rolling, with Reuben stepping up to the plate, superb legs by Zharnel and Richard, and Harry holding off the South African and Jamaican challenge.
In the women’s relay, Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith and Bianca Williams gave enough of a lead for long jumper Lorraine Ugen to hold on for gold from the fast closing Olympic champion in an English record time of 42.46s.
Morgan Lake won her first senior global medal with silver in the high jump. She cleared 1.93m but could not beat Levern Spencer’s 1.95m. Scotland’s Nikki Manson took 7th spot, Bethan Partridge 8th and Northern Ireland’s Sommer Lecky 10th.
Although Katarina Johnson-Thompson grabs the headlines with heptathlon gold on the Gold Coast – her second global title this year – the subtext is the promising performances of other British youngsters. 18-year-old Niamh Emerson heads that list claiming bronze with a 6043pts personal best. Kate O’Connor (17) finished eighth and Holly McArthur (18) tenth.
As the day progressed, it was clear that KJT was carrying an injury. She only took two jumps in the long jump – her 6.50m led – and one throw in the javelin – a satisfying 40.46m. Katarina ran well below her best in the 800m – the event won by Niamh – but did enough to finish the competition on 6255pts. She took a long time to get up off the ground, clearly in pain and tired – the world indoors may have taken more out of her than she thought.
The only other home country medal winner on the 6th day of track and field was James Arnott who took silver in the T47 100m final. Morgan Jones of Wales finished in fourth place.
It was a dramatic day of athletics at the Gold Coast. While Sophie Hahn won gold on the track, Zharnel Hughes had his gold medal taken away. Sophie completed a full set of major gold medals with the Commonwealth title in the T38 100m. Zharnel crossed the line first in the 200m final, but was disqualified for impeding Jereem Richards in the next lane. A lengthy appeal was to no avail.
Sophie began as favourite, and so it proved as she took first in 12.46s, just 0.02s outside of her own world record. Wales’ Olivia Breen added a bronze to her long jump gold. Katrina Hart came sixth.
Zharnel led for the whole race, but a flailing arm as he strived for the line caught Richards full on. A disqualification always looked likely, but it meant that Northern Ireland’s Leon Reid was upgraded to a bronze medal. Dina Asher-Smith also took bronze in the women’s event against a world class field. She finished just ahead of the world champion, but 400m specialists Miller-Uibo and Jackson finished strongly with a games record and PB respectively. England’s Bianca Williams finished in sixth.
Scotland’s Maria Lyle brought home the UK’s only athletics medal on day 4 of competition on the Gold Coast. The 18 year old prevented an Australian clean sweep in the T35 100m final, claiming silver in 15.14s. England’s Daphne Schrager and Maria Verdeille came 5th and 6th.
Serveral British athletes claimed 5th place in their respective finals: Joshua Bain (F38 shot put), Dan Bramble (long jump) and Allan Smith (high jump – Chris Baker, David Smith and Robbie Grabarz finished 9th, 10th and 12th). Rosie Clark came closest to a medal with a confidence-boosting 4th place in the 3000m steeplechase. Rosie ran 9.36.29, some 11 seconds behind third place. Iona Lake finished 8th and Lennie Waite 10th.
As Andy Pozzi and Sophie Hitchon had a day they would rather forget, Welsh athlete Melissa Courtney snatched a bronze in the women’s 1500m – the only British medal on Day 3 of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Just as it looked as though there would be no podium appearance for the home countries, Courtney held off two Australian athletes, as she was pulled along to a PB by the quick running Semenya. Scottish duo McColgan and Twell were the next best place home country runners in 6th and 7th, with McDonald in 8th.
After his world indoor title and an impressive run in the heats, Andy Pozzi looked as if he had every chance of another global title. He appeared to recover after clattering the first hurdle, but he clipped the 7th throwing himself off-balance to hit the next two hurdles and finish equal 6th.
Sophie Hitchon’s hopes of gold, came to nothing as she failed to register a distance in the hammer throw. Problems with positioning her feet and the resultant over-rotation led to an early exit from the final.