Trinidadian triumph in women’s 100m, while Ugandan Chesang takes 10,000m gold
Michelle-Lee Ahye became the first female athlete from Trinidad and Tobago to win Commonwealth gold when she stormed to 100m victory.
But there was bitter disappointment for English hope Asha Philip as she finished a close fourth behind Jamaican duo Christiana Williams and Gayon Evans.
The winner was never in doubt as Ahye blasted away into a clear lead and held her form to clock 11.14 (+1.0) to beat Williams by seven hundredths of a second.
It made up for the anguish of four years earlier when Ahye had exited at the semi-final stage with injury at the Games in Glasgow.
For Philip, it is yet another frustrating fourth place following the same finishing position at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and World Indoors, plus the 2016 European Championships.
“That was shocking,” said Philip. “I’m better than that.”
Philip’s 11.21 from her semi would have earned her a medal but she ran 11.28 in the final despite a favourable 1.0m/sec tailwind.
Philip’s post-race reaction was in stark contrast to Ayhe as the 25-year beamed: “I hope the younger runners can see me as a role model.”
She added: “I was just determined throughout the heats and kept to my plan. I think my family and country will be very proud. It means a lot to me to represent Trinidad and Tobago.”
As for her future goals, she said: “My main focus is to stay healthy and get stronger.”
Stella Chesang started her athletics career as a mountain runner but now, after focusing on track running, she climbed to the top of the podium at the Commonwealth Games with 10,000m victory on Monday evening in Australia.
Back in 2015 she beat British runners Emily Collinge and Emma Clayton to the world mountain running title in Betws-y-Coed in Wales. That same year she also finished 11th in the World Cross Country Championships in China and here, over 25 laps in the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, the 21-year-old surged with 500m to go and ran a 63-second last lap to beat Stacy Ndiwa of Kenya as fellow Ugandan Mercyline Chelangat took bronze.
After having passed halfway in 16:14, the runners ran the second half of the race faster with Chesang clocking 31:45.30 to win by just over a second.
With host nation hope Celia Sullohern in medal contention in the closing stages, the fans in the arena created great atmosphere but the Australian did not have the speed in the last 300m and faded to sixth.
For the home nations athletes, Emma Mitchell improved her Northern Ireland record to 32:49.91 in 15th while Jenny Nesbitt of Wales justified her late call-up by running a PB of 32:58.14 in 17th.
“When these girls put their foot down and began to pull away, it was hard to go with that,” said Mitchell. “I had to keep mentally strong. I had to put in work to catch people and maintain my form from training and keep that belief. But I’m happy to get that Northern Irish record.”
Beth Potter, who has already competed in the triathlon at the Games, ran 33:26.78 in 18th for Scotland.
Caster Semenya looked imperious in the women’s 1500m rounds as the South African won heat one in 4:05.86. In fourth, Melissa Courtney of Wales was the only automatic qualifier but due to the speed of the race it meant Eilish McColgan of Scotland, Ciara Mageean of Northern Ireland and English duo Katie Snowden and Jess Judd also got through to Tuesday’s final as fastest losers.
Heat two was won by Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya in 4:08.29 with Scotland’s Steph Twell qualifying in fourth. Fifth-placed Sarah McDonald of England was initially edged out and did not qualify but she was later added to the final after a protest linked to an incident where Winny Chebet of Kenya fell.
» See the April 12 edition of AW magazine for in-depth event-by-event coverage from the Gold Coast Games