Elaine Thompson-Herah wins the 200m at the Commonwealth Games (© Getty Images)
Elaine Thompson-Herah is no stranger to sprint doubles. Having achieved the feat at the past two Olympic Games, the Jamaican superstar replicated the feat at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday (6).
Three days after winning the 100m crown in a relatively close race, Thompson-Herah won the 200m in dominant fashion, setting a Games record of 22.02 (0.6m/s) and finishing almost half a second ahead of her nearest opponent. Nigeria’s Favour Ofili took silver in 22.51 and Olympic silver medallist Christine Mboma earned bronze in 22.80.
Thompson-Herah had a comfortable lead before she reached the home straight, then her winning margin continued to increase as she neared the finish line.
She becomes just the fifth woman to achieve the 100m/200m double at the Commonwealth Games. She could add a third gold medal to her tally at these Games if she contests the 4x100m on Sunday.
Just half an hour before Thompson-Herah’s triumph, Jereem Richards won his second international title of the year by taking the men’s 200m in a Games record of 19.80.
The versatile sprinter from Trinidad & Tobago, who started his 2022 campaign by winning the world indoor 400m title, stepped back down to his specialist distance to win convincingly from England’s Zharnel Hughes (20.12). Ghana’s Joseph Amoah was third in 20.49.
Four days after winning the 10,000m – his first major title on the track – Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo bagged another gold medal, this time in the 5000m. And once again, it came down to another thrilling finish.
Kiplimo bided his time for the opening kilometres as world silver medallist Jacob Krop led the field through 3000m in 8:01.68. Krop’s Kenyan compatriot Nicholas Kimeli, the world leader, passed through 4000m in the lead in 10:41.08 as a gap started to appear between the leading three and the rest of the field.
Kimeli continued to lead for another couple of laps but couldn’t shake the challenge of Krop and Kiplimo. Coming off the final bend, all three men kicked hard but Kiplimo proved to be the strongest, powering his way to the finish in a season’s best of 13:08.08. Kimeli took silver in 13:08.19 and Krop finished third in 13:08.48.
Australia’s Oliver Hoare bounced back from a disappointing semifinals exit at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 to win the men’s 1500m, beating world champion Jake Wightman and 2019 world champion Timothy Cheruiyot. Hoare won in style, too, smashing the oldest Games record in a track event.
Cheruiyot and Kenyan teammate Abel Kipsang took turns at the front for most of the race, going through 800m in a swift 1:52.1 and 100m in 2:20.3. Wightman, representing Scotland here, moved into the lead with 200 metres to go and held pole position into the home straight. But, showing signs of fatigue, he was caught in the closing stages first by Cheruiyot and then by a fast-finishing Hoare, who charged past the two global gold medallists to cross the line in a PB of 3:30.12.
The winning time took more than two seconds off Flibert Bayi’s Games record of 3:32.16, set at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch – a performance which was a world record at the time.
Cheruiyot was second in 3:30.21 while Wightman held on for bronze in 3:30.53. In a race of notable depth, the first six men finished inside 3:31.50 and the top 10 were all inside 3:34.0.
“It was a very fast race but I have been training for a fast race,” said Hoare. “It was just about kicking at the right time. I went through on the inside with a lap to go and I saw Jake next to me, and I started to panic because he is the world champion. But I tried to hold my composure.”
There was another middle-distance upset later in the day as world bronze medallist Mary Moraa overtook world and Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson to win the women’s 800m.
Adopting unorthodox but ultimately effective tactics, Moraa charged through the first 200m in 25.9 but then slowed significantly once she reached the home straight, allowing Jamaica’s Natoya Goule to lead the field through the half-way point in 56.5. With 300 metres to go, Moraa was right at the back of the eight-woman field, while Hodgkinson was on Goule’s shoulder and soon moved into the lead.
Hodgkinson entered the straight in pole position with Goule close behind while Moraa had moved onto Laura Muir’s shoulder and had found her second wind. Moraa regained the lead with about 35 metres remaining and went on to win in 1:57.07. Hodgkinson followed in 1:57.40 and Muir took bronze in 1:57.87, just 0.01 ahead of Goule.
It was the second gold medal of the day for Kenya, following Abraham Kibiwot’s victory in the steeplechase during the morning session. The world and Olympic finalist triumphed in 8:11.15, holding off a strong challenge from India’s Avinash Sable, who broke his own national record with 8:11.20.
World silver medallist Camryn Rogers dominated the hammer, though the Canadian had a nervous start to the final after opening with two fouls. She registered a valid throw in round three, though, sending her hammer out to 74.08m. That remained the best throw of the final, though she threw farther in qualifying with a Games record of 74.68m. 2018 champion Julia Ratcliffe was second with 69.63m.
In the men’s event, Nick Miller successfully defended his title but he was made to work for it. He overcame fouls with his opening two throws, landed a safe 69.04m effort in round three and then sent his hammer out to 76.43m in round four. Ethan Katzberg of Canada came within seven centimetres of that mark in the next round, but Miller remained in top spot until the end.
Like Miller, Jamaica’s Janieve Russell became another back-to-back winner. She retained her 400m hurdles title in 54.14 from compatriot Shiann Salmon (54.47) and at one point it seemed as though Jamaica would achieve a medal sweep, but South Africa’s Zeney van der Walt came charging through at the end to overtake Rushell Clayton and take bronze in 54.47, just two thousandths of a second behind Salmon.
Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands also successfully defended his title in the men’s event. The 25-year-old won comfortably in 48.93 from Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde (49.78).
On a good day for defending champions, Jemima Montag triumphed in the women’s 10,000m race walk. The Australian won by more than a minute in 42:34.30 while India’s Priyanka Goswani claimed silver in 43:38.83. Kenya’s Emily Ngii took the bronze medal in 43:50.86.
Newly crowned world champion Eleanor Patterson was surprisingly defeated in the women’s high jump. The Australian managed a best of 1.92m, 10 centimetres below her winning height in Oregon, while Jamaica’s Lamara Distin took gold with 1.95m.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics