Olympic long jump champion claims England’s second gold of the Games on a fantastic fourth day of Commonwealth athletics action
Greg Rutherford added a Commonwealth long jump title to his Olympic one to claim England’s second gold medal of the Glasgow 2014 Games on Wednesday evening.
The 27-year-old had taken an early lead with 8.12m in the first round but that mark was equalled by Zarck Visser in the second round and the South African took the lead on countback.
Rutherford, who bettered the UK record he had shared with England team-mate Chris Tomlinson with 8.51m in Chula Vista in April, responded by leaping out to 8.20m in the third round. Two fouls and an 8.10m jump followed but no one else could come any closer to his leading mark and he grabbed gold to become only the second athlete after Lynn Davies to hold both Olympic and Commonwealth titles in the event.
“This is why we do it – the early mornings, the hard sessions, that cliché of blood, sweat and tears. This is why you do it – to stand on top of the podium with a gold medal,” said Rutherford.
“I did all I needed to do today in order to win. It obviously wasn’t the most incredible performance in the world in terms of the distance. It was a bit chilly out there and we had a few spots of rain but to win a gold medal, I’m over the moon.”
He added: “It proves everything I’ve been doing has been the right thing to do and I’m in a good place. Now I’ve got a Europeans in two weeks’ time, ready to unleash and win another title.”
Bronze went to Visser’s team-mate Rushwal Samaai, his best of 8.08m coming in the first round, while Tomlinson couldn’t quite break the eight metre mark, his 7.99m from the second round placing him fifth. His team-mate JJ Jegede managed a best of 7.81m for seventh.
Also adding Commonwealth gold to an Olympic medal of that same colour was Grenada’s Kirani James as he stormed the 400m final to break Welshman Iwan Thomas’ 16-year-old Games record. Wayde van Niekerk looked strong coming off the bend and it seemed he might offer James a bit of a challenge. But true to his dominant form the 2011 world champion had more than enough to pull away on the home straight and clocked 44.24 to the South African’s 44.68. Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon ran 44.78 for bronze as England’s Martyn Rooney just missed out on a medal, his 45.15 placing him fourth.
New Zealand’s Valerie Adams continued her shot put dominance to claim her third Commonwealth title and her fourth consecutive Games medal with a best of 19.88m. With all of her valid throws over 19 metres, any of them would have been enough to win ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Cleopatra Borel with a best of 18.57m and Canada’s Julie Labonte whose 17.58m bagged her bronze. England’s Rachel Wallader added seven centimetres to her personal best to just sit outside the medals with 16.83m for fourth as her team-mates Sophie McKinna and Eden Francis threw 16.59m and 16.57m for fifth and sixth respectively. Scotland’s Kirsty Yates threw a PB 16.42m for eighth.
There were two Commonwealth Games records in as many throws for Australia’s Kim Mickle. The world silver medallist, who won a medal of that same colour in Delhi in 2010, launched the javelin to 62.97m before following that up with 65.96m to go one better than four years ago. The top two were a switch up of the 2010 result as two-time and reigning Commonwealth champion Sunette Viljoen of South Africa threw a best of 63.19m for silver.
Like Viljoen, Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Roberts also saved her best until last with 62.95m to move into bronze medal position ahead of her team-mate Kathryn Mitchell. England’s Goldie Sayers, who made a return this year following injuries and surgery, was the best of the three English athletes as she threw 57.68m in the final round for seventh.
As in the women’s 10,000m the night before, Kenyan athletes took a clean sweep of the medals in the 3000m steeplechase, led by Purity Kirui with 9:30.96. Behind her, defending champion and world gold medallist Milcah Chemos Cheywa clocked 9:31.30 as Joan Kipkemoi ran 9:33.34.
With two Scottish athletes in the field, the crowd was unsurprisingly vocal. The Kenyan athletes went straight to the front, while Australia’s Madeline Heiner looked good in the lead as the athletes approached the bell. Leading the chase pack was Eilish McColgan who ran around a 74-second last lap to the Kenyan’s 67-second final 400m to clock a 9:44.65 season’s best to roars from the crowd. England’s Rachael Bamford was one place behind and took nine seconds off her personal best with 9:45.51. Her team-mate Pippa Woolven also ran a PB with 9:47.97 as Scotland’s Lennie Waite ran 9:51.93 for 10th.
Canada’s Derek Drouin attempted what would have been Games record height of 2.37m in the high jump but failing all three attempts his second-time clearance of 2.31m got him the gold. The 2.40m-man had enjoyed a clear run up to his winning height and was joined on the podium by team-mate Michael Mason, who had finished seventh in 2010. His best of 2.25m bagged him bronze as silver was secured by Kyriakos Ioannou of Cyprus with 2.28m.
Fourth only on count back was England’s Chris Baker as he finished ahead of team-mate Martyn Bernard who had 2.21m. That was also the best height cleared by Scotland’s Ray Bobrownicki but on countback he placed equal ninth.
There were more medals to come for Canada as Brianne Theisen-Eaton lived up to her favourite tag to join her team-mate Damian Warner in claiming multi-event gold in Glasgow. She took the heptathlon title with 6597 points from fellow Canadian Jessica Zelinka with 6270, while England’s Jessica Taylor set a 5826-point personal best for bronze. Her team-mates Jessica Tappin and Grace Clements were a few places behind, their respective 5695-point personal best and 5512 points placing them sixth and seventh. Theisen-Eaton and Zelinka had taken the top two spots in the final event – the 800m – as Tappin clocked a 2:11.65 PB for third in that event.
Guy Learmonth delighted the Hampden Park crowd by finishing third in an 800m heat won by world record-holder David Rudisha to secure a spot in Thursday night’s final. Cruising clear, Olympic champion Rudisha ran 1:46.61 ahead of his fellow Kenyan Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich with 1:46.88 as the Scot clocked 1:47.78.
The second heat was quicker and won by Botswana’s Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos in 1:45.65 as England’s Michael Rimmer, fifth in that heat with 1:47.70, secured the final fastest loser spot.
Bianca Williams went quickest in the 200m heats as all three English athletes progressed. Williams ran 22.97 to win the second heat as Jodie Williams took heat five in 23.42 and Anyika Onuora finished runner-up to Jamaica’s Schillonie Calvert – 23.14 to 23.19 – in heat four. The newly-crowned Commonwealth 100m champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria ran 22.99 to also easily advance to Thursday evening’s semi-finals.
» Results can be found here