Stephenie McPherson leads a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the 400m at the Commonwealth Games (© Getty Images)
Jamaica, Kenya and Canada each enjoyed multiple-gold on Tuesday (29), the third day of track and field action at the Commonwealth Games in Hampden Park.
Both Kenya and Jamaica rejoiced in historic clean sweeps in the women’s 10,000m and 400m as their flags were proudly hoisted highest into the chilly Scottish night. Canada also had a day to savour as two proven international performers produced the goods in the championship arena.
Triple gold for Jamaica
Stephenie Ann McPherson was strongest when it mattered as she powered down the home straight to lead a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the women’s 400m. She strode past Jamaican champion Novlene Williams-Mills to win gold by 0.19 in 50.67. Christine Day made it a medal sweep for the Caribbean nation by out-dipping former world champion Amantle Montsho.
“For the whole season I have been practicing different ways how to run. But I got the perfect one this time,” said the new champion afterwards. “Christine (world champion Ohuruogu) the Great Britain girl won her first medal here (at the 2006 Commonwealth Games), so hopefully I can follow in her footsteps.”
Kimberley Williams was also following in hallowed footprints, those of 2006 and 2010 champion Trecia-Kaye Smith, to keep the women’s triple jump title in Jamaican hands. The overwhelming favourite going into the competition, Williams only truly relaxed when the gold was safe in the final round and subsequently produced her best effort of 14.21m.
England’s Laura Samuel produced a big personal best of 14.09m for silver and Trinidad and Tobago’s Ayanna Alexander won bronze with a consistent series, the best being 14.01m.
“I put pressure on myself because I wanted to do good, I wanted jump far,” said Williams, the world indoor bronze medallist. “Instead of being patient and rushing through the phases I was rushing it and I wasn’t relaxed.”
Andrew Riley won his first major title as Jamaica claimed yet another gold. His race was not technically perfect, but he had too much speed for England’s Will Sharman, who repeated his silver medal performance from four years ago in Delhi.
“Even though it wasn’t one of my better races, I got the job done,” said Riley, who clocked 13.32. “I’ve been saying this over the past two years, but we are a country of sprinters and the hurdles is a sprint event and I think we should have more guys wanting to hurdle that just trying the 100 and 200.”
Shane Brathwaite of Barbados won bronze in 13.49 with his namesake Ryan, the 2009 world champion, back in fifth.
Endurance double for Kenya
Former world junior champion Faith Kipyegon won a thrilling women’s 1500m final in 4:08.94. The Kenyan led into the final straight with compatriot Hellen Obiri, but the world bronze medallist couldn’t hang on.
The rest of the field came roaring back, led by England’s Laura Weightman, who took silver in 4:09.24 ahead of bronze medallist Kate Van Buskirk of Canada. Obiri eventually faded to sixth.
For this first time in Commonwealth Games history, Kenya claimed a clean sweep of the medals in the women’s 10,000m. Florence Kiplagat, Joyce Chepkirui and Emily Chebet broke clear with six laps remaining and they were still locked together with just 200m left. Then, former world cross-country and world half marathon champion Kiplagat made a kick for home.
But she was unable to quite shrug off Chepkirui and the African 10,000m champion just edged ahead in the final strides to take gold in 32:09.35. Chebet was just over one second behind in bronze.
“I am the African champion, but I have never really won a big championship like this,” said Chepkirui.
Golden night for Canada
World bronze medallist Damian Warner dominated the decathlon right from outset, clocking a 100m personal best of 10.29 on day one. Into the second day and another searing run in the 110m hurdles of 13.50 gave him a solid grip on proceedings.
Thereafter, he was solid enough to log a total of 8282 to claim Canada’s second gold of the track and field programme from England’s Ashley Bryant and Grenada’s Kurt Felix.
“It’s my first international victory,” he said. “Last year at the Worlds, I was able to stand on the podium and do the victory lap with the flag. This time, same thing, but I’ll be on top of the podium; that’s always an awesome feeling.”
Warner’s victory was soon followed by Jim Streacy’s triumph in the men’s hammer, the first Canadian in 76 years to win that title.
The former Pan-American champion’s second-round effort of 74.16m was enough for gold. There was also plenty to cheer for the local crowd as England’s Nick Miller and Scotland’s Mark Dry took silver and bronze with 72.99m and 71.64m respectively.
Olympic champions through
London 2012 gold medallist Greg Rutherford headed the qualifiers in the men’s long jump with 8.05m. In the men’s 800m, Olympic champion and world record-holder David Rudisha eased through to Wednesday’s semi-finals in 1:46.89. Grenada’s Kirani James also booked a safe passage to Wednesday’s men’s 400m final, winning his semi as fastest qualifier with 45.14.
Home hope Eilidh Child of Scotland had a packed morning crowd roaring its approval as she won her 400m hurdles heat in 55.56. But she may have to overcome former world junior champion Kaliese Spencer if she wants to go one better than her silver medal from four years ago. The Jamaican was the fastest qualifier for Wednesday’s semi-finals, easing to victory in 55.45.
World silver medallist Brianne Theisen-Eaton holds a healthy lead after day one of the women’s heptathlon with 3939 points. The Canadian’s team-mate Jessica Zelinka sits in silver, 195 points adrift with England’s Jessica Taylor currently third with 3520 points.
Chris Broadbent for the IAAF