By Nicola Kenton and Neil Leverett
- England’s men and women win gold in 4x100m relays, eight boxing golds for home nations
- England’s netballers make Commonwealth history by reaching gold medal match for first time
- XXI Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia run until April 15
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – England take golden sprint relay double as home nations win eight boxing titles, whilst there were further shooting golds for England and Wales
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Double sprint relay glory for England
There was a glorious sprint relay double on the final day of competition at the Carrara Stadium, as both the men and women won gold in their respective 4x100m finals on a day where the home nations took home an extraordinary 14 golds on the penultimate day of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The men’s quartet of Reuben Arthur, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines-Arretey, produced another faultless race from a now well-drilled unit, with the British squad having won at the World Championships last August in London.
As newcomer Arthur handed off to Hughes – still reeling from his disqualification in the 200m final on Thursday – the sprint specialist stormed down the back straight to hand Kilty a sizeable lead. Kilty then handed the baton cleanly to Aikines-Arretey with a decent cushion.
As the 29-year-old from Carshalton headed for home the lead was comfortable, but 100m champion Akani Simbine was closing fast for South Africa, with Yohan Blake also in close attendance. The Briton held on by a margin however, to clinch gold ahead of the South Africans and Jamaica to cue wild celebrations.
30 minutes later the women completed a famous double. Asha Philip went off from the gun and set 200m bronze medalist Dina Asher-Smith scampering to again open up a healthy lead over the chasing pack. Bianca Williams then ran a sterling bend to hand over to Lorraine Ugen.
The long jumper, thrown into the mix raced for the tape and looked to be cruising home before Jamaican Elaine Thompson ran an electric final leg, gunning for Ugen. As the Olympic champion hared for the line however, the Briton held on the nose her out and take a second Commonwealth sprint title for England ahead of both Jamaica and Nigeria, completing a remarkable double on the track.
There were further medals for the home nations on both the track and field on the final day of athletics. Morgan Lake took silver for England the high jump with a clearance of 1.93, behind St Lucia’s Levern Spencer – the caribbean nation’s first medal at a Commonwealth Games – who took the title. Australia’s Nicola McDermott claimed the bronze.
In the distance races, Laura Weightman and Jake Wightman both took bronze in the women’s 5000m and men’s 1500m respectively.
Weightman, coached by Steve Cram and in her first outing at the distance, produced a composed performance to hold off Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel for the bronze, as Kenya completed a one-two double with Hellen Obiri finishing ahead of Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi.
Scotland’s Wightman put disappointment of finishing in fourth in the 800m earlier in the week by taking 1500m bronze behind Timothy Cheruiyot, as Elijah Motenei Manangoi took the title with another Kenyan distance medal double.
Red Roses secure last-gasp winner to reach first Commonwealth final
History was made on the netball court, as Jo Harten scored the winning goal for England that sent them through to the Commonwealth final for the first time ever. The Red Roses trailed to Jamaica throughout the match until the final quarter when they overturned the deficit. However, Jamaica continued to level the encounter and it seemed as though extra-time was needed, when goal attack Helen Housby missed with seven seconds on the clock. Nonetheless, Harten secured the rebound and netted the winning goal which guarantees England the silver medal.
The Commonwealth final has always been contested between Australia and New Zealand. At the Glasgow Games, England just missed out on the final with New Zealand securing a last-gasp winning shot on that day. Yet earlier in the group stages at this tournament, England beat New Zealand for the first time in Commonwealth history to finish at the top of their pool.
England did not look like their usual selves in the semi-final; their shot conversion rate was not as accurate as Jamaica and coach Tracey Neville rang the changes. At half-time the Red Roses were trailing 27-33 but they crucially won the third quarter to close the gap to 43-47. Although they did not place a stranglehold on the match in the final quarter, they did what was necessary to continue to close the gap until they led for the first time and Harten eventually closed out the match. They now face Australia in the gold medal encounter.
Extraordinary eight golds in the boxing ring
As finals day arrived in the Boxing finals at Oxenford Studios, there was a remarkable eight gold medals claimed by the host nations to round off a superb Games on the Gold Coast.
England’s Lisa Whiteside and Galal Yafai both won their early bouts to secure their respective Commonwealth titles, while Paige Murney could not overcome home favourite Anja Stridsman. Whiteside nearly gave up boxing after fracturing her skull in 2015 but the 32-year-old fought back and claimed an unanimous decision against Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul.
Yafai won his fight by split decision in his -49kg bout against India’s Amit Phangal. Yafai is the younger brother of professional fighters Khalid and Gamal Yafai but he is the first of the siblings to win a Commonwealth title.
In the heavyweight +91kg division, Frazer Clarke added a third gold for England, proving too much for India’s Satish Kumar, whilst in the -56 final Peter McGrail made it four wins for Team England.
Sandy Ryan and Pat McCormack took the tally to a super six in the boxing ring for England, whilst there was double delight for Wales’ Lauren Price and Sammy Lee to claim their own Commonwealth titles
There were six silver medals for Northern Ireland on a disappointing day on the losing side however, as Brendan Irvine and Kristina O’Hara were amongst the defeated fighters in their respective matches. The Northern Irish lost all their final fights.
England’s Luckman and Wales’ Wixey win gold in final shooting events
The final day of shooting saw another fruitful day for the home nations, as England claimed four medals and Wales secured one. In the first final of the day it was England’s David Luckman who came out on top in the men’s Queen Prize individual finals by shooting a Games record. The 41-year-old has now retained both of his titles from the Glasgow Games and his team-mate from the pairs final, Parag Patel, won the bronze.
There was another medal for England in the next event, as Dean Bale clinched the bronze in the 50m Rifle 3. The top three shooters were of the rest of the field where India’s Sanjeev Rajput won gold ahead of Canadian Grzegorz Sych in silver.
Wales claimed the gold in the men’s trap final as Michael Wixey of Wales won the title ahead of Englishman Aaron Heading and Brian Galea of Malta. It has been a successful few days for the Wixey family as yesterday, Wixey’s wife Sarah claimed a bronze in the women’s trap finals.
Table tennis gold for Drinkhall and Pitchford, as Wilson leads one-two
There were two gold medals for England in the table tennis on the Gold Coast, as Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall won the men’s doubles and Ross Wilson brought home gold in the TT6-10.
The English pair beat India’s Sharath Achanta and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in a five-set thriller. It was Drinkhall’s second Commonwealth title, after he clinched the mixed doubles gold in Glasgow.
In the first set, the English duo won comfortable securing the gam by 11-5. However, the Indian pair fought back as they edged Drinkhall and Pitchford in the second and third games. The fourth game saw the English pair draw level to leave a final set decider. It was another closely fought contest but the English duo came out on top to win the final game 11-8 and take the Commonwealth title with a 3-2 victory.
England also secured a one-two in the men’s TT6-10 para-table tennis event. Finalists Ross Wilson and Kim Daybell battled to clinch the Commonwealth crown. Daybell, the world ranked number six and favourite, won the first set comfortably before Wilson levelled after a close second. From there, 22-year-old Wilson asserted his dominance to secure a three-sets-to-one triumph over his compatriot.
England thrash India to secure Hockey bronze
At the Gold Coast Hockey Centre, England put aside their semi-final disappointment over New Zealand to claim the bronze after thrashing India 6-0, as Sophie Bray bagged a hat-trick.
After a cagey first quarter, Holly Pern-Webb gave the ladies in Red the lead, Bray notched her first goal from a penalty corner to give the English a 2-0 lead with just 15 minutes left.
England then went on a fourth-quarter goal rampage first through Bray again, before Laura Unsworth added a fourth. Bray’s third was questioned as to whether skipper Alex Danson had gotten the final touch before going in, before Bray herself then laid a pass on a plate from a counter-attack to give Danson an undisputed goal.
Having put six past their opponents and cl aiming the bronze medal, attention will now focus to a British perspective at the Hockey World Cup on home soil at Leigh Valley in London, this summer.
The XXI Commonwealth Games conclude tomorrow Sunday 15 April, on the Gold Coast, Australia.
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