Delhi, IndiaThe Kenyan success story continues here – on Sunday (10) it was a clean sweep in the men’s 800m - but on a fifth day of athletics in which the medals were shared around a bit more, it was a sequence of flourishes by Indian athletes that stirred a nearly-full Nehru stadium to full-throated roars of approval.
Indian stars take some of the spotlight
And there was tangible success for all this home enthusiasm as Vikas Gowda took silver in the Discus Throw with a season’s best effort of 63.69m behind the 65.45m reached by Australia’s Benn Harradine, and Prajusha Maliakkal added another in the women’s Long Jump, where her effort of 6.47m, to general dismay, was surpassed in the last round by the 6.50m recorded by Canada’s Alice Falaiye. Spoilsport.
The stadium resounded too for high jumper Sahanakumari Sahana, who kept in contention for a medal with a season’s best of 1.83m before three failures at 1.88m saw her finish joint fourth with England’s Vikki Hubbard, with gold and silver going respectively to Canada’s Nicole Forrester (1.91m) and Jamaica’s Sheree Francis (1.88m).
There was huge home satisfaction too as Tintu Luka, who took what looked an unwise early lead in her 800m semi-final, saw it through to cross the line first in 2:02.73sec. On Monday she will test her nerve against a field that includes Kenya’s Olympic champion Nancy Langat, who has already won the 1500m gold here.
Gowda made it clear afterwards that his ambition had not been appeased by a silver.
“I have mixed emotions,” he said. “I am happy, but I wanted to win. Maybe next time. I got my season’s best but I have it in me to reach 68 metres. “My next goal is to win the Asian Games. An Olympic medal has always been my goal – this is just a stepping stone.” As expected, Kenyan men take 800m sweep
As the only three runners in the 800m final with personal bests swifter than 1:45, Kenya’s Boaz Lalang, Abraham Kiplangat and Richard Kiplagat were clear favourites for the sweep which they duly delivered as if it were a synchronised triples event.
Lalang, who has run 1:42.95 this season, took gold in 1:46.60, with Kiplagat second in 1:46.95 and Kiplangat third in 1:47.37.
“We had planned it to finish 1-2-3 and it worked great,” Lalang said. “We didn’t say before who had to win, we just let it be decided in the race who was the best.”
He added that he needed to do more 1500 training if he was to have a chance of beating the 800m World record set by his fellow countryman David Rudisha.
Baptiste takes 200m gold for England
England’s Leon Baptiste, a European junior 100m champion seven years ago, made good on some of that youthful promise as he took the 200m title in 20.45, having run a personal best of 20.43 in the semi-final.
The 25-year-old from Loughborough, who gave up a promising football career after injuring a knee, finished 0.04sec ahead of Jamaica’s Lansford Spence, whose time was a personal best, and former Commonwealth silver medallist – and indeed, double World junior champion – Christian Malcolm, who claimed bronze for Wales in 20.52.
“It’s been a long journey a lot of downs and some ups,” Baptiste said. “Not being selected for the European Championships was the lowest point, this was definitely the highest.”
Greene adds 400m Hurdles title to 2010 accolades
Malcolm’s Welsh colleagues David Greene and Rhys Williams took gold and bronze respectively in the 400m Hurdles.
Greene, whose outstanding form this season has already been rewarded with a European title and a personal best of 47.88, added further glory with a characteristically dogged run to hold off the close attentions of South Africa’s Louis Van Zyl, who was second in 48.63.
Williams took bronze in 49.19, with Kenya’s Vincent Koskei setting a personal best of 49.36 in fourth place.
Meanwhile Sally Pearson was getting back into action after her traumatic, delayed disqualification from the 100m after she had completed a lap of honour complete with the mandatory flag.
After breezing through the opening heats of her specialist event, the 100m Hurdles, the Australian reflected upon the events of last Thursday evening.
“I was definitely disappointed about what happened in the 100m,” she said. “I was silly. I was not relaxed and not focused on my own game. I didn’t breathe and stay relaxed. That’s what I have to do in the hurdles final.”
Odumosu scores upset in women’s 400m Hurdles
The women’s 400m Hurdles title went to Muizat Odumosu of Nigeria, who clocked 55.28 to finish clear of Scotland’s Eilidh Child (55.62) and Jamaica’s Nickiesha Wilson (56.06).
“I am very happy because it’s my first Commonwealth Games,” Odumosu said. “I am trying to get my country back on the map to let them know we have good sprinters.”
For Odumosu’s fellow Nigerian Comfort Onyali, however, any similar ambitions ended in deep disappointment as she exited the Long Jump final after three no marks.
Onyali curled up in the sand after her last effort, sobbing with disappointment, and had to be half persuaded, half carried from the pit.
It was deliverance from the sandpit only; for her tonight there was no comfort. Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF