Delhi, IndiaSpectators at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium will be very familiar with the Kenyan national anthem before the 19th Commonwealth Games are over.
Both the track finals on day four (9) of the athletics programme went to Kenya, who had taken two other golds the previous night in the women’s 1500 and 10,000m finals, as well as a silver in the opening night’s men’s 5000m.
Mark Mutai earned gold in the 400m, and Milcah Chemos led a clean sweep in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase.
The medals were shared around evenly in four high quality field events, with Valerie Adams of New Zealand and Sunette Viljoen of South Africa setting Games records in the Shot Put and javelin respectively.
Chemos hangs on for Steeplechase triumph
Chemos and her fellow Kenyan Mercy Njoroge had broken well clear of the field by the final lap, with teammate Gladys Kipkemoi halfway 30 metres back from them.
When Njoroge stumbled at the water jump, the race seemed at Chemos’s mercy, but her own hesitancy over the last hurdle almost allowed the chasing teammate to pass.
Chemos hung on, however, clocking 9:40.96, with Njoroge recording 9:41.54 and Kipkemoi taking bronze in 9:52.51.
Mutai surprises in 400m
All three remained to support their team mate Mark Mutai in the next race, and he provided them with good reason to run jubilantly back onto the track in celebration as he edged the verdict in the 400m over Australia’s Sean Wroe, 45.44 to 45.46.
“I am very, very happy,” said Mutai. “This is the first gold medal in my life and my first medal ever. It’s like a dream. I am proud of being Kenyan tonight. I worked six years for this medal and now it’s true. I love my whole nation.”
Adams launches shot 20.47m
Adams produced what was surely her biggest smile of the season, if not her biggest throw of the season, after launching the shot out to 20.47m with her opening throw. Games over.
She supplemented it with a seriously consistent sequence of efforts – 20.39m, 20.08m, 20.31m, 20.44m and 20.14m. The World and Olympic champion meant business tonight.
But Cleopatra Brown looked pleased enough to have thrown 19.03m for silver, with Samoa’s Tasele Satupai taking bronze with a personal best of 16.43m.
“Job done,” said Adams, who claimed second place in the event in the Samsung Diamond League behind Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus. “That is what I wanted – to rip it up and throw big and win gold. The standard in the Commonwealth is not so high so I wanted to set a good mark.”
“It’s been the longest season of my career. It’s been hard on the body to throw well at the end of the season. I am very happy.”
But maybe Satupai was just as happy.
“I am speechless, I am over the moon,” she said. “The people in Samoa will be very proud and happy. Hopefully it will inspire the little kids on the islands to get involved.”
Viljoen earned a clear victory with a third round throw of 62.34m, and her last effort of 60.92 exceeded that of Australia’s silver medallist Kim Mickle by two centimetres.
Lapierre takes Long Jump, Thomas scales 2.32m season’s best in High Jump
The men’s Long Jump proved highly competitive as Ignisious Gaisah of Ghana established an early lead with 8.14m, only to see England’s Greg Rutherford, who missed the European Championships with injury, jump a season’s best of 8.22m, just eight centimetres short of the national record he set at last year’s World Championships in Berlin.
Both were trumped, however, by an 8.30m second round jump from Fabrice Lapierre, who went on to show his unpredictability by recording three successive fouls.
Donald Thomas of the Bahamas won the High Jump title with a season’s best of 2.32m, with fellow countryman Trevor Barry claiming silver with a personal best of 2.29m.
Hazel retains Heptathlon crown for England
England may have missed their World and Olympic champion Jessica Ennis in the Heptathlon, but 25-year-old Louise Hazel rose to the challenge of retaining a title for her country which had been won four years earlier by Kelly Sotherton.
Three successive personal bests had lifted Hazel – who turned 25 on Wednesday – to a 126 points lead over her nearest competitor, Canada’s Jessica Zelinka, as the field toed the line for the final 800 metres event.
A 200m of 24.10 in the final event of the first day left her in the bronze medal position overnight, and then won both the Long Jump 6.44m and the javelin with 44.42m.
It was champion form – and the Birchfield Harrier saw it through as she kept sufficiently in contact with Zelinka, who won the 800m in 2:15.26, to tally a 6156-point personal best to leave herself with a 56-point margin of victory, clocking 2:20.33.
20Km Walk titles to Tallent and Jackson
Earlier in the day, Jarred Tallent led a 1-2 finish for Australia in the 20Km Race Walk. Tallent took the victory in 1:22:18, 13 seconds clear of teammate Luke Adams. Harminder Singh of India was third in 1:23:28, a career best.
Walking from the front from the outset, Jo Jackson of England took the women's 20Km contest in 1:34:22, a Games record. Claire Tallent took second for Australia in 1:36:55, with Kenyan Grace Wanjiru claiming the bronze in 1:37:49.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF
Click here for full results from Day Four