Dina Asher-Smith, Kyle Langford and Dan Bramble also progress, but Damian Warner’s decathlon dreams are dashed
Eilidh Doyle had made history as the first female athlete to carry Scotland’s flag into a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony and she represented her nation well again in the first round of the 400m hurdles competition as a fine run secured her spot in the final.
Competing over the barriers for the first time since last September, the 31-year-old – who claimed world indoor 400m bronze just over five weeks ago in Birmingham – looked comfortable and in control as she clocked 54.80 in the first heat ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Sparkle McKnight with a PB of 55.15.
“Running blind from lane eight was always going to be difficult,” said the Scottish athlete. “It was good to get the race in the bag and my nerves out of the way.”
Looking ahead to the final, she added: “I would love to win gold. I need to go out and run my best race. I can’t help what anyone else does on the day, if I can execute a good race and leave it all on the track, I’ll be happy.
“It’s my third Commonwealths final so you want to enjoy these occasions and hopefully I can go a wee bit quicker than today.”
Jamaica’s world bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey faced a nervous wait after finishing fourth in 55.66 but her time was enough to see her through after the second heat was won by her team-mate Janieve Russell in 54.01. A third Jamaican hurdler – Ronda Whyte – and South Africa’s Wenda Nel will join them in the final, but England duo Meghan Beesley (56.41) and Jessica Turner (58.26) plus Wales’ Caryl Granville (59.28) miss out.
England will have an athlete in the men’s 400m hurdles final, however, as Jack Green clocked 49.24 behind Jaheel Hyde of Jamaica’s 49.14 in heat two, while heat one was won by Kyron McMaster of British Virgin Islands in 48.78. Guernsey’s Alastair Chalmers ran a big PB and an Island under-20 record of 51.10 for seventh in his heat.
Wales’ Dai Greene had also been among those due to compete but hit by another injury setback, the 2010 Commonwealth gold medallist and 2011 world champion was forced to withdraw ahead of the competition.
There was a Games record broken in long jump qualifying and to the delight of the home crowd that performance came from Australia’s Henry Frayne as he leapt a 8.34m PB. Among those joining him in the final will be Ruswahl Samaai (8.06m), Luvo Manyonga (7.91m), Damar Forbes (7.93m) and England’s Dan Bramble who leapt 8.02m.
Northern Ireland’s Adam McMullen, who is both an athlete and coach in Gold Coast, just missed out on the final after a best of 7.66m.
Asher-Smith and Hughes advance
A busy programme of 200m heats saw a number of British athletes progress, including England’s Dina Asher-Smith (23.28), Bianca Williams (23.20), Finette Agyapong (23.15), Zharnel Hughes (20.34) and Richard Kilty (21.08), plus Northern Ireland’s Amy Foster (23.94) and Leon Reid (20.73).
There were no real surprises at this stage, with double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, Rio 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer and Warren Weir and world bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana also among those to advance to the semi-finals. Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel was quickest in the women’s first round with 22.72, while fastest in the men’s heats was Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago with 20.33.
A well-judged run by England’s Kyle Langford saw him surge ahead in the closing stages of his 800m heat to clock 1:45.61 and finish second to Kenya’s Wycliffe Kinyamal with 1:45.56. Scotland’s Guy Learmonth and Jersey’s Elliott Dorey won’t join them in the final after finishing sixth and eighth respectively. The Games campaign of England’s Elliot Giles also came to an end as he ran 1:48.54 for sixth in the second heat, which was won by Nijel Amos in 1:45.12 ahead of Luke Mathews, who got great support from the home crowd as he crossed the line in 1:46.53.
There will be a second British athlete in the final as Jake Wightman secured his spot for Scotland, clocking 1:47.43 to finish behind Jonathan Kitilit with 1:47.27 in heat three. England’s Andrew Osagie dropped to his knees at the finish, the disappointment of missing out after running 1:48.20 for fifth clear to see.
“I paced it well,” said Langford. “I knew I was going to catch them down the last 100m. I had enough left in the tank so I’m really excited to get going in that final. I felt really easy all the way around and got through so that is all that matters.”
Over in the decathlon, Damian Warner’s hopes of retaining his title were dashed after he failed all three attempts at his opening height of 4.50m in the pole vault.
The Canadian world and Olympic medallist had built up a 223-point lead after seven events with a 6297-point tally but left the track looking understandably gutted after he failed to add to that with his pole vault performance.
Warner had earlier picked up from where he left off at the end of day one, opening day two with the quickest 110m hurdles time of the two heats – 13.89. England’s John Lane ran 14.96, while Wales’ Ben Gregory clocked 15.16.
Grenada’s Lindon Victor and Kurt Felix led the decathlon discus performances, throwing 52.32m and 48.04m respectively, while Warner was fourth best in the competition with 46.55m. Lane launched the shot to a PB of 43.79m and Gregory threw 38.85m.
Australia’s Cedric Dubler cleared 5.00m to top the pole vault, while Canada’s Pierce Lepage soared over a PB of 4.90m and Lane and Gregory cleared 4.80m as the wind started to pick up during the competition.
At the end of that event, Lepage replaced his team-mate at the top of the decathlon standings with 6889 points ahead of Victor with 6864 and Dubler with 6749. Lane is fourth on 6431 points and Gregory eighth on 6011.
Despite gaining no points in the pole vault, Warner sits in sixth on 6297 points.
Looking ahead to the final couple of events, Dubler said: “I’m going to leave it all out on Carrara Stadium and use the support of the crowd which has been incredible over the decathlon.”
On Warner and his pole vault no-height, the Australian added: “Damian is an incredible athlete and has supported me for a few years now. When I did the national championships and trials here (at Carrara Stadium in February), he was messaging me ‘good luck’ and congratulating me when I did good performances.
“He’s so involved and supportive of all the athletes – it’s really tough to see him fall back.”
» See the April 12 edition of AW magazine for in-depth event-by-event coverage from the Gold Coast Games