Sprint hurdles in the spotlight as we take an event-by-event look back at previous editions of the Commonwealth Games

The inaugural hurdles champion in 1934 was Australia’s Marjorie Clark, who had already won gold in the high jump. She won by an estimated tenth in 11.8.

Barbara Burke went a tenth quicker in 1938 as she won narrowly in conditions likely to have been wind-assisted. The South African had also finished top five in both sprints.

In 1950, Shirley Strickland finished second in both the sprints and won two golds in the relays, but her top individual success was in the hurdles where she just about edged New Zealand’s June Schloch. The Aussie won both the 1952 and 1956 Olympic titles.

A big surprise in 1954 saw Northern Rhodesia’s Edna Maskell win easily in 10.9, which was superior to the world record but wasn’t ratifi ed as the race was adjudged to be wind-assisted. Jean Desforges took bronze just ahead of fellow Brit Pam Seaborne. England had its best result yet in 1958 as Carole Quinton ran 10.77 for second but just lost out to Norma Thrower.

Australia won again in 1962 as Pam Kilborn won easily in 11.07, which was superb running into a 7m/sec headwind. Aussie-born Betty Moore, who had set a world record earlier in the year, was a well-beaten second for England.

Kilborn retained her title in 1966, but was given a much tougher race by Jamaica’s Carmen Smith.

The event became 100m hurdles in 1970, but it was the same winner as she overcame her 18-year-old team-mate Maureen Caird, who had beaten her in the 1968 Olympics.

American-born Judy Vernon won the title by a metre to give England its first victory in 1974 and the nation did even better in 1978, achieving a clean sweep with Jamaican-born Lorna Boothe first in a wind-assisted 12.98. Teenager Shirley Strong and Sharon Colyear took the other medals to add to the British domination while Scot Elaine Davidson was fourth.

The top two swapped positions in 1982 as Strong smashed the Games record in a windy 12.78 with Boothe a clear second.

England made it a fourth successive gold in 1986 through Sally Gunnell. The former English Schools long jump champion was to go on to better things at the longer hurdles event. Another England runner, Wendy Jeal, took second, while Australian Olympic heptathlon champion Glynis Nunn was third.

Gunnell won the 400m hurdles in 1990 and a few days later she tried to retain her shorter event title but was well beaten by Kay Morley, who had been seventh in 1986 and only qualified as ninth fastest for the final in the event’s only nine-woman final! While Morley’s elder sister, Susan, had been fourth for England at 400m hurdles in 1982, the younger Morley won gold for Wales. Lesley-Ann Skeete made it a British 1-2-3.

In 1994, Jackie Agyepong missed out by two hundredths on another British win as Jamaican Michelle Freeman won gold with Sam Farquharson in third. After dominating the medals for many Games, England went home empty-handed from 1998 with no one in the top five as another Jamaican, Gillian Russell, won easily in a Games record 12.70. Sriyani Kulawansa won a rare silver for Sri Lanka.

The West Indian nation were now in command and the 2002 final in Edinburgh saw Lacena Golding-Clarke win from team-mate Vonette Dixon. England’s Diane Allahgreen just lost out on bronze.

Brigitte Foster-Hylton, who had been fifth in 1998 and scratched from the final in 2002, took a comfortable gold in 2006 in a record 12.65 as Jamaica took three in four with Canadian Angela Whyte, who was fifth in 2002, second. The Jamaican won world gold in 2009.

Whyte was also second in 2010, but she was well beaten by Sally McLellan, who won in a Games record 12.67. The Australian, who was earlier controversially disqualified from the 100m, won the world title under her married name Pearson in 2011 in a record 12.28 – the fastest time for 19 years.

Gold medal winners 80 yards hurdles

1934 Marjorie Clark (RSA) 11.8
1938 Barbara Burke (RSA) 11.7
1950 Shirley Strickland (AUS) 11.6
1954 Edna Maskell (NRH) 10.9
1958 Norma Thrower (AUS) 10.72w
1962 Pam Kilborn (AUS) 11.07
1966 Pam Kilborn (AUS) 10.9

Gold medal winners 100m hurdles 

1970 Pam Kilborn (AUS) 13.27
1974 Judy Vernon (ENG) 13.45
1978 Lorna Boothe (ENG) 12.98w
1982 Shirley Strong (ENG) 12.78w
1986 Sally Gunnell (ENG) 13.29
1990 Kay Morley (WAL) 12.91
1994 Michelle Freeman (JAM) 13.12
1998 Gillian Russell (JAM) 12.70
2002 Lacena Golding-Clarke 12.77 (JAM)
2006 Brigitte Foster-Hylton 12.76 (JAM)
2010 Sally Pearson (AUS) 12.67

British medallists

Gold: Vernon (Eng: 1974), Boothe (Eng: 1978), Strong (Eng: 1982), Gunnell (Eng: 1986), Morley (Wal: 1990)
Silver: Carole Quinton (Eng: 1958), Betty Moore (Eng: 1962), Strong (Eng: 1978), Boothe (Eng: 1982), Wendy Jeal (Eng: 1986) Gunnell (Eng: 1990), Jackie Agyepong (Eng: 1994)
Bronze: Elsie Green (Eng: 1938), Jean Desforges (Eng: 1954), Betty Moore (Eng: 1962), Christine Bell (Eng: 1970), Sharon Colyear (Eng: 1978), Lesley-Ann Skeete (Eng: 1990), Sam Farquharson (Eng: 1994)
Most successful athlete: Only Australia’s Pam Kilborn – with three – has won more than one gold.
Most successful Briton: These are jointly Sally Gunnell, Lorna Boothe and Shirley Strong, who each won a gold and silver medal.

» Find other event-by-event histories here and an overall history of the Commonwealth Games here