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Commonwealth Games (7)

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Louise Hazel
09 October 

Birchfield Harrier Louise Hazel (Fayyaz Ahmed) followed in the footsteps of Judy Simpson, Denise Lewis and Kelly Sotherton to claim Commonwealth heptathlon gold in Delhi.

Hazel – who turned 25 on October 6 – was second heading into the second day of competition but a personal best of 6.44 in the long jump put her in front.

She increased her lead over Canadian Jessica Zelinka after the javelin and with a 126 point advantage, equating to nine seconds, going into the 800m she hung on for gold with 6156 points. 

Lewis won gold at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur while Sotherton followed suit four years ago in Melbourne and Hazel said: “I am absolutely over the moon and I said I wanted to bring a medal home.

“It is such a huge honour it is a shame that people had to pull out, so my commiserations to them, but I am just so happy with my performance. 

“I thought my mum would be watching back at her hotel but I saw her as I was doing my lap of honour and gave her a big kiss and that was really nice.”

Hazel’s English teammate Grace Clements (Julie Hollman), inspired by Hazel, took bronze with a score of 5819 while compatriot Phyllis Agbo (Darrell Bunn) didn’t take to the start line for the opening event of the day, the long jump.

Johanna Jackson (Andi Drake) started England’s gold medal rush in the early hours of Saturday morning becoming the first woman outside of Australia to claim Commonwealth 20km race  walk gold. 

Jackson lead from start to finish topping the podium in a new Commonwealth record of 1:34:22 hours with Australia’s Claire Tallent and Kenya’s Grace Wanjiur Njue taking silver and bronze respectively.

Australia have won every women’s race walk event since it was introduced to the Commonwealth programme as a 10km but after rewriting history Jackson couldn’t hide her delight. 

“I am very, very happy to win gold,” said Jackson. “I was the favourite for gold so I did what was needed to do and I did my job.

“I have never been the medal favourite before so it was a bit of a new experience and there was a lot of pressure on me to win gold.” 

Lisa Kehler finished an agonising fourth in 1:40:33 hours while in the men’s 20km race walk Luke Finch (Martin Bell) was England’s highest finisher coming home tenth in 1:29:37.

Tom Bosworth (Andi Drake) was one place behind in 1:30:44 with Alex Wright two down on him in 13th as Jared Tallent set a new Commonwealth record of 1:22:18 to take gold.

In the 200m European silver medallist Christian Malcolm (Dan Pfaff), Leon Baptiste (Michael Khmel) and Marlon Devonish (Tony Lester) all qualified for the semi-final. 

Malcolm won his round two heat in 20.93 with Baptiste and Devonish following suit and clocking 20.68 and 20.90 respectively.

Hywel Robinson – competing for Guernsey – failed to make it out of round one after clocking 22.98.

“I wanted to start well, get clear and then ease up towards the end which I managed to do in the end so I am pleased,” said Devonish. 

“It was harder than I probably would have liked but these things happen I am pleased still. I will have an ice bath now and rest up, chill out and just get ready for the next races.”

Greg Rutherford (Dan Pfaff) jumped a seasons best to take Commonwealth long jump silver while English teammate Chris Tomlinson (Frank Attoh) battled a heel injury to take part. 

Rutherford jumped 8.22 with his second attempt but with Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre pulling off a leap of 8.30, also with his second attempt, had to settle for silver.

Tomlinson’s appearance in the final appeared to be in doubt after he aggravated a heel injury and he failed to record a jump in the Indian capital. 

“I had a bit of a heel problem seven or eight weeks ago and I was really struggling as a result,” said Tomlinson. “But the medical staff here has been fantastic and I wear my heart my sleeve so I wanted to jump.

“I really went for it, I am very passionate about the sport and rather than walk away saying what if I went for it.”

There was plenty of British interest in the men’s discus qualification with England’s Carl Myerscough leading home all six entrants. 

Myerscough qualified for the final in third with a best effort of 60.02, sealed with his final throw, while compatriot Emeka Udechuku finished fifth with 58.55.

Wales’ Brett Morse (Nigel Bevan) ended sixth after throwing 56.81 while England’s Chris Scott (Andrew Neal) was seventh with 56.58, Scotland’s Angus McInroy (Hugh Murray) was ninth and Jersey’s Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) 11th.

In the women’s javelin final Laura Whittingham finished just shy of a medal in fourth after throwing a best of 60.03 with South Africa’s Sunette Viljeon taking gold. 

Viljeon threw a Commonwealth Games record of 62.34 to top the podium while Izzy Jeffs was 13th overall with a best of 46.31.

Dai Greene (Malcolm Arnold) of Wales breezed into the 400m hurdles final after finishing first in heat two in 49.98 with compatriot Rhys Williams (Malcolm Arnold) winning heat three in 49.81. 

“There is a lot of pressure but I am definitely here for the gold medal. I always compete to win and to do it for Wales would be very special,” said Greene.

England’s David Hughes (Steve Hughes) finished third in heat one and qualified as a fastest loser in 50.55 but Guernsey’s Dale Garland (Malcolm Arnold) failed to progress after running 51.48 to finish fifth in heat three. 

Wales’ Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) delivered a superb late burst to book his place in the men’s 800m final after clocking 1.47.22 to finish third in his heat and edge out England’s Andrew Osagie (Craig Winrow), who finished in 1.47.52.

“It was all very physical and I ended up being a little further back in the field than I wanted to but when I got onto the home straight I felt really strong so I just kept pushing,” said Thomas.

“The pressure is off now because all I wanted to do was to get into the final and I have managed to do it so anything can happen now.” 

Thomas’ team-mate Gareth Warburton (Darrell Maynard) clocked 1.46.83 to finish third in semi-final two and reach the medal showdown along with England’s Darren St Clair who qualified as a fastest loser on 1.46.92 with Northern Ireland’s James McIlroy missing out after running 1.47.76.

Scotland’s Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins) breezed through the opening heats of the 200m after finishing second in her heat in 23.78 with England’s Laura Turner (Linford Christie) also qualifying in fourth after running 23.99. 

“I’ve been feeling really good in my running so I was quite hopeful of getting through and I felt I ran it really well,” said McConnell.

Wales’ Elaine O’Neill (Tom Crick) produced a season’s best time of 23.83 to finish third in her heat and progress with England’s Abi Oyepitan (Tony Lester) going through after finishing second in heat one in 23.86. 

The pair will be joined by England’s Joice Maduaka (Loren Seagrave) who won heat three in 23.75 and Northern Ireland’s Amy Foster who finished third on 24.19.

England’s Helen Clitheroe (Trevor Painter) missed out on a medal in the 3000m steeplechase after finishing fourth in 9:56.37.

“I was pleased with my run, you always want a medal when you are that close but I was happy with how it went after yesterday’s run,” said Clitheroe.

Scotland’s Lennie Waite finished sixth in the same race in 10:02.12 and Tina Brown (Glynn Tromans) finished one place further back in seventh after running 10:13.34.

Scotland’s Eilidh Child (Stuart Hogg) booked her place in the 400m hurdles final after finishing second in her heat in 56.16 with England’s Meghan Beesley (Nick Dakin) also making it through after finishing third in 56.95.

England’s Rebecca Peake finished top Englishwoman in the shot put after clearing 16.28 to finish fifth with team-mate England’s Eleanor Gatrell (Mike Winch) throwing 15.23 to end the competition in seventh.

England’s Samson Oni (Trevor Llewelyn) finished fourth in the high jump after clearing 2.23 with Tom Parsons (Fayyaz Ahmed) finishing equal fifth after also clearing 2.23 but taking an extra attempt to do so.

England’s Conrad Williams (Linford Christie) finished sixth in 45.88 in the 400m final which was won by Mark Muttai of Kenya in 44.54.