World champions Hellen Obiri and Elijah Manangoi led Kenyan 1-2 finishes in their respective events on the last day of track and field competition at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Saturday (14).
Obiri’s win in the 5000m broke the run of Ugandan dominance in flat distance events, following Joshua Cheptegei’s 5000m and 10,000m golds and Stella Chesang’s 10,000m title.
Taking control after a slow opening kilometre, Obiri and Kenyan teammate Margaret Kipkemboi gradually cranked up the pace with three successive kilometres at 2:59 pace.
By then it was clear Kenya would win; the only question was which one. Obiri answered the question emphatically with a flying final 200 metres in a tick over 30 seconds to win in 15:13.11.
Kipkemboi made it a 1-2 in 15:15.28 with England’s Laura Weightman overtaking Juliet Chekwel of Uganda on the final lap to take third in 15:25.84. It was the first time Uganda has been shut out of the medals in the four longest track distance races at the Games.
Luke Mathews led the 1500m final through a first lap of 60.95 but by the 800-metre point in 2:00.04, world silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot led teammates Manangoi and world U20 champion Kumari Taki.
The 52.07 final lap, though, was all Manangoi and Cheruiyot, who ultimately finished in the same order as in London. Manangoi took the gold in 3:34.78, Cheruiyot the silver in 3:35.17.
Several metres back, Scotland’s Jake Wightman won the battle for the bronze in 3:35.97. Among those to fall away on the final lap were Chris O’Hare, eighth, and Ryan Gregson, ninth. Mathews, for whom the 1500m was apparently a bridge too far after his 800m heroics, finished last.
England, Jamaica and Botswana share relay spoils
England took both 4x100m relays to take the biggest share of relay gold, with Jamaica and Botswana splitting the 4x400m relays.
The English team of Reuben Arthur, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey ran 38.13 to win the men’s 4x100m from South Africa and Jamaica.
Individual gold medallist Akani Simbine pulled South Africa up from fourth to the silver medal with a storming final leg, but fell a metre short of catching Aikines-Aryeetey. For second leg runner Hughes the gold medal was some consolation for his disqualification after crossing the line first in the 200m.
Jamaica looked to have the strongest team in the women’s event, but poor changeovers between lead-out runner Christania Williams and Natasha Morrison, and then Morrison and individual 100m bronze medallist Gayon Evans, handed a winning advantage to England. Asha Philip, Dina Asher-Smith, Bianca Williams and long jump specialist Lorraine Ugen took the gold, 42.46 to 42.52, with Ugen holding off double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson on the final leg. Nigeria finished third.
Jamaica restored some normality in the women’s 4x400m in which individual medallists Anastasia Le-Roy (second leg) and Stephenie-Ann McPherson (anchor leg) teamed with Christine Day and 400m hurdles gold medallist Janieve Russell to win in 3:24.00. Nigeria was second with Botswana setting a national record of 3:26.86 in third place.
Botswana had their turn for glory by winning a physical men’s 4x400m. Leaname Maotoanong, Baboloki Thebe, Onkabetse Nkobolo and individual champion Isaac Makwala combined to win in 3:01.78 from The Bahamas, 3:01.92, and Jamaica, 3:01.97.
There was drama at the final change which led to Kenya being disqualified for moving out of order. Australia had suffered the same fate in the previous day’s heats.
Chopra emulates training partner
Neeraj Chopra, the world U20 champion and world U20 record-holder, won the men’s javelin with a best distance of 86.47m. Hamish Peacock took the silver medal with 82.59m and Anderson Peters the bronze with 82.20m.
The gold medallist is coached by former world record-holder Uwe Hohn. He also coaches Kathryn Mitchell, winner of the women’s event, giving him a gold medal double.
Levern Spencer of St Lucia won the women’s high jump with a first-time clearance at 1.95m ahead of England’s Morgan Lake, 1.93m. Nicola McDermott took a bronze medal for the hosts on countback from Canada’s Alyxandria Treasure at 1.91m.
It was the first gold medal for St Lucia which had previously taken just three bronze. Spencer has three of the four, gold this time and bronze medals in the past two Games.
Just two centimetres separated Troy Doris and Yordanys Garcia in the men’s triple jump.
With unpredictable winds shifting around, Garcia took a first-round lead with 16.86m (-2.3m/s) and backed it up with 16.85m and 16.77m on his next two jumps. Doris went 16.88m (0.5m/s) in the second round to snatch a lead he held through the remained of the competition. Amazingly, neither man registered a valid jump in their last three attempts.
In terms of distances jumped, it was the shortest winning distance since 1974 (though some competitions in that period have been wind-assisted), and the first time a Commonwealth winner has failed to clear at least 17 metres since Marios Hadjiandreou of Cyprus won in Auckland in 1990 with 16.95m ahead of a developing Englishman named Jonathan Edwards, 16.93m.
The athletics programme closes on Sunday with the marathons.
Len Johnson for the IAAF