England grab gold in men’s 4x400m as Usain Bolt performs for Hampden crowd and Jo Pavey bags bronze on last night of the Glasgow Games
Athletics action at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games ended on a high with some thrilling battles and passionate performances at a drenched Hampden Park on Saturday evening.
Among the standout performances was a superb run by England’s 4x400m team as Conrad Williams, Michael Bingham, Daniel Awde and Matthew Hudson-Smith combined to clock 3:00.46 and grab gold ahead of Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago.
In horrendously wet conditions, Williams, Bingham and Awde worked well to sit second behind Trinidad & Tobago before the final changeover, having clocked splits of 45.4, 45.0 and 45.38 respectively. As Hudson-Smith got the baton he was around two metres down on Zwede Hewitt, but a 44.56 split by the 19-year-old saw him surge over the line ahead of Bahamas’ Chris Brown, part of the Olympic gold medal-winning team two years ago, for victory.
It had looked as though Hudson-Smith could possibly have been caught by Brown, who ran 44.39, but in a battle between youth and experience, youth won, with 35-year-old Brown bringing his team home in 3:00.51 as the Trinidad & Tobago team clocked 3:01.51. With the Scotland team having run a national record in the first round, Kris Robertson, Grant Plenderleith, Jamie Bowie and Greg Louden came together to clock 3:04.07 for fifth behind Jamaica.
“When I crossed the line I was not sure whether I came second or first,” said Hudson-Smith. “Then everyone ran to me and said we did all right.”
Just before and the women’s 4x400m team had also added to England’s medal tally, with Christine Ohuruogu, Shana Cox, Kelly Massey and Anyika Onuora combining to clock 3:27.24 behind winners Jamaica with a 3:23.82 Games record and Nigeria with 3:24.71. Switching from running the anchor in the heats to the first leg in the final, Ohuruogu clocked 52.1 before handing over to Cox who ran 51.5. Massey’s third leg was 51.83 before Onuora ran a 51.72 anchor leg to bag bronze ahead of Australia. Fresh from leading a Jamaica cleansweep in the 400m final, Stephenie Ann McPherson went the quickest of their quartet with a 50.33 anchor.
Usain Bolt had got the crowds cheering ahead of the men’s 4x100m final as he busted some moves on the track to The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Race underway, he had them hollering 37.58 seconds later too, as he anchored the Jamaica team to victory in a Games record ahead of England with 38.02 to also beat the old record mark set by England in 1998 by almost two tenths.
Jason Livermore, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Nickel Ashmeade joined Bolt in claiming sprint relay victory as Adam Gemili, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Richard Kilty got the baton to Danny Talbot on par with that of the Jamaican team but world record-holder Bolt stormed away on the home straight to win on his Commonwealth debut. The Trinidad & Tobago team clocked 38.10 for bronze as South Africa set a national record of 38.35 in fourth.
“This is my new gold medal,” said Bolt. “It completes my set.
“Everyone showed up and gave their best performances. Everything was perfect.”
There was another Jamaica relay victory in a Games record time in the women’s 4x100m as Kerron Stewart, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Schillonie Calvert and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocked 41.83 to set a world lead and win by more than a second from Nigeria with 42.92. England’s sprint relay runners matched their one-lap team-mates in claiming bronze, with Asha Philip, Bianca Williams, Jodie Williams and Ashleigh Nelson running 43.10. The Welsh quartet of Hannah Brier, Hannah Thomas, Mica Moore and Rachel Johncock clocked a national record of 44.51 in seventh.
Further proving that Kenyans can throw as well as run, Julius Yego took the javelin title with his third round 83.87m. With the rain lashing down, that throw was his last, but no one could go better and gold was his as Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad & Tobago claimed silver with 82.67m from his final throw. Bronze went to Australia’s Hamish Peacock as Wales’ Lee Doran threw 72.73m for eighth.
The pole vaulters also struggled with the bad conditions but Australia’s Alana Boyd cleared a best of 4.50m to retain her title. Wales’ Sally Peake, who had claimed the UK title in June and went higher than she ever has outdoors with 4.40m at the Glasgow Grand Prix, cleared 4.25m for silver as England’s Sally Scott and Canada’s Alysha Newman shared the bronze with 3.80m and the remainder of the field failed to register a height.
Triple jump gold went to 2008 Olympic silver medallist Godfrey Khotso Mokoena as he leapt 17.20m in the first of his two jumps to have counted to deny Tosin Oke of Nigeria a second Commonwealth gold. Arpinder Singh, who broke the Indian record with 17.17m in June, leapt 16.63m for bronze as Phillips Idowu was the best of the three English athletes with 16.45m for fifth.
The first track race of the evening had seen a brilliant bronze for Jo Pavey in a thrilling women’s 5000m won by Kenya’s Mercy Cherono. After a cautious start the pace began to pick up and the lead pack passed halfway at around 7:44. Pavey was getting herself well and truly stuck in with a group also including the likes of Cherono’s team-mate Janet Kisa and Australia’s Eloise Wellings and took to the front with three laps to go.
After relinquishing her place at the front she had enough left to come through at the bell as the group started to string out slightly along the back straight. As the Kenyans took over, Pavey, who turns 41 next month and only returned to the track in May following the birth of her second child, surged towards the line – clocking 15:08.96 to prevent a Kenyan clean sweep. Cherono claimed victory in 15:07.21 and silver was secured in 15:08.90 as Pavey beat Margaret Muriuki who clocked 15:10.38.
Scotland’s Laura Whittle ran 15:33.72 for sixth as England’s Emelia Gorecka clocked 15:40.03 for eighth. Scotland’s Beth Potter followed her over the line in 15:44.38, while England’s Helen Clitheroe ran 15:55.00, Elinor Kirk of Wales clocked 15:57.67, Scotland’s Steph Twell ran 16:30.66 and Sarah Mercier broke the Guernsey record with 16:31.05 in 15th.
James Kiplagat Magut won a battle for the line with fellow Kenyan Ronald Kwemoi in the men’s 1500m to go one better than his silver from Delhi in 2010. It looked as though New Zealand’s Nick Willis could have finished higher up on the podium but he left it too late. His strong final surge bagged him bronze but he looked like he had more to give. Magut crossed the line in 3:39.31 to Kwemoi’s 3:39.53 as Willis ran 3:39.60. Chris O’Hare was the best of the Brits as the Scot ran 3:40.63 for sixth. England’s Charlie Grice was seventh with 3:41.58 as Wales’ Chris Gowell ran 3:42.10.
» Results can be found here