Delhi, IndiaThe focus of interest in 100m races is usually at the finish, but in the two finals which took place on day two (7) of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi all the attention was directed at the starts.
Sally Pearson, Australia’s 100m Hurdles Olympic silver medallist, apparently won the race in 11.27sec, and completed a lap of honour draped in the Australian flag, only to be disqualified for a false start after a lengthy and confusing process in which both the English team, who had Laura Turner dq’d for the same reason, and Australia lodged protests.
The upshot was that Nigeria’s Osayemi Oludamola was promoted to gold, in 11.32, Natasha Mayers moved up to silver with 11.37 and England’s Katherine Endacott took bronze with a personal best of 11.44.
It was reported that the Australian, who has produced several outstanding hurdles performances this season, notably at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, had travelled back to the Athletes’ Village on the same bus as the English team, and had approached an England manager to say there were no hard feelings and that she wished Endacott well.
As Pearson made a tearful exit from the Nehru stadium, England’s Mark Lewis-Francis was still pondering on the fact that his start had been undermined by his blocks slipping – something he believed cost him the gold.
As things turned out he took silver in 10.20 behind Jamaica’s Lerone Clarke, who won in 10.12. Even when Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell – the 2006 champion – aren’t here, Jamaica still manage to find someone to win the sprint.
“My blocks slipped. That’s why it looks like I’m so far behind. I had to run deep within just to get a medal. There’s a lot more there,” said Lewis-Francis.
Certainly Lewis-Francis has not always had the best of luck at Commonwealth Games – in Manchester eight years ago he had to pull up in his 100m final after injuring a hamstring.
Aaron Armstrong of Trinidad and Tobago, took bronze in 10.24.
Pearson and Turner were spoken to after a false start in the women’s 100m final, and Turner was shown the red card, but argued her case. Pearson appeared to be the runner who broke early before the re-run, and had her head in her hands as she came to a halt.
With both runners competing under a protest, the race was run – but Turner was never in touch and finished last.
Turner’s team-mate Endacott commented immediately afterwards: “It was a false start by Sally and I’m sure they went to give her the red card. I’ve had a really, really good year but to get fourth here is frustrating.”
That frustration was soon to turn into joy.
Armstrong and Frizell take first infield triumphs
There were Commonwealth Games records in the men’s Shot Put, where Canada’s Dylan Armstrong won with an effort of 21.02m, and in the women’s Hammer Throw, where Sultana Frizell threw 68.57.
After a nervous start, the aptly named Armstrong took the lead and was never overtaken. His effort overtook Dorian Scott of Jamaica, who took silver with 20.19m.
Dale Stevenson of Australia took bronze, equalling his personal best of 19.99m.
Frizell almost failed to make the final, fouling in her first two throws in qualifying and only making it through on the third and final attempt.
But when it came to the final itself she was a class apart, throwing her record in the second round and remaining unchallenged.
In the decathlon, Canada’s Jamie Adjetey-Nelson led at the halfway stage with 4238 points from Martin Brockman on 4114 and Brent Newdick of New Zealand on 4075.