By Neil Leverett and Nicola Kenton

  • England’s Zharnel Hughes disqualified after winning gold in mens 200m, as Brits take athletics medal haul
  • Last, Richards one-two in the mountain biking, as Jack Laugher wins second gold
  • XXI Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia run until April 15

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – England’s Zharnel Hughes disqualified after winning 200m gold, as Sophie Hahn and Jack Laugher add further titles during a dramatic Day 8 on the Gold Coast.

 

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Hughes disqualified after winning 200m gold; Asher-Smith takes bronze

On a dramatic night at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, it was a mixed night for the home nations, as England’s Zharnel Hughes was disqualified after initially winning gold in the men’s 200m final.

Winning the race after a strong bend, Hughes began to tie up on the home straight and as Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards began to chase him down, the two were involved in a clash of arms approaching the finish line as both men stumbled over the line.

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With both men clocking 20.12, Hughes was initially awarded the gold medal but as replays showed Hughes impeded his competitor as they vied for the line, Hughes was subsequently penalised and disqualified for infringement.

Desperately for Hughes, The Anguillan-born athlete was already on his lap of honour when he was informed of the official’s swift decision to DQ him, as Hughes went off the track in search of answers. An appeal was lodged by Team England but was unsuccessful as the result stood.

Hughes’ loss however was Northern Ireland’s Leon Reid‘s gain being promoted from fourth place behind Canada’s Aaron Brown, with the athlete who has declared himself to compete for Ireland but is yet to receive his papers to compete, walking away with a surprise bronze.

In the women’s race, England’s Dina Asher-Smith won a superb bronze medal in the final of a stacked women’s 200m holding off Elaine Thompson of Jamaica, as Shaunae Miller-Uibo took the gold ahead of Shericka Jackson in second.

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The 22-year-old from Orpington led off the bend but was caught both Thompson and Miller-Uibo, as the Bahamian again finished strongly in the finishing straight.

As Asher-Smith came under pressure from Thompson in the final metres, the Briton held off her opponent by mere millimetres, dipping for the line to take her first major international medal.

 

Hahn gold; Langford, Doyle silver, as KJT leads heptathlon

Elsewhere on the fourth evening of athletics finals, Sophie Hahn won England’s first Gold Coast Commonwealth title on the track in the T38 100m final ahead of Australia’s Rhiannon Clarke and Wales’ Olivia Breen.

Hahn, 21, a European, World and Paralympic champion, now adds gold down under to complete the set finishing well ahead of the field in a Games record winning time of 12.46.

Kyle Langford came agonizingly close to winning gold in the men’s 800m, just five-one-hundredths-of-a-second behind Kenya’s Wycliffe Kinyamal to take silver.

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The Watford athlete who finished fourth at the World Championships in London last August, again timed his now patented finishing-straight dash to perfection coming from sixth to overhaul both Luke Matthews and fellow Brit Jake Wightman into second spot.

With the Kenyan tiring, Langford stormed through the final 50m metres and inched closer to Kinyamal but just ran out of track in time, as the Kenyan won the 800m title by mere centimetres.

For Langford, it will be a massive boost as the Briton rises in the event, now seeking a European title this summer, and looking further ahead to Tokyo in 2020.

Scotland’s Eilidh Doyle won third-consecutive silver in the women’s 400m hurdles final finishing behind Jamaica’s Janieve Russell and South African Wenda Nel.

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The Scottish athlete competing in her third Games paced her final run between the final barriers to perfection, as the Perth 31-year-old overtook Nel into the final sprint to claim Scottish silver.

elsewhere in the women’s long jump, Shara Proctor won a bronze for England with a jump of 6.75m behind Australian Brooke Stratton and Canada’s Christabel Nettey with a winning leap of 6.84m.

In the heptathlon, Katarina Johnson-Thompson leads the field overnight with a points tally of 3762 ahead of Nina Schulz of Canada. After leading from the high jump phase, the Liverpudlian threw a below-par shot in the third event to slip down the standings before recording a further 1023 points with time of 23.56, to take a slender lead over the competition as the heptathlon concludes on Friday.

 

Last leads mountain bike one-two for England

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England’s Annie Last led the field home in the women’s cross country mountain bike to take gold, as team-mate Evie Richards claimed the silver medal and Haley Smith of Canada took home the bronze. The 27km race was a brutal test of strength and agility combining technical sections alongside the smooth road of the outdoor velodrome.

It was Richards who started quickly and tried to grow the gap back to team-mate Last but the 27-year-old proved too strong as she overtook the 21-year-old with 9km left. Last went into the competition as the favourite having won a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships, while Richards is the current Under-23 world champion. The 27-year-old finished 48 seconds ahead of her younger team-mate but this competition was an achievement for Richards, as it marked her first  medal on the senior stage.

Speaking after the race, Last told the BBC:

 

“It was absolutely amazing. If you get it right, it’s smooth sailing and easy, but the thing is about mountain biking, if you make a tiny mistake, it can ruin everything. I’m really happy with the race. During it you never know how you’re feeling and how it will play out in the end, but I just put absolutely everything into the race and focused on my own performance.”

 

Laugher wins second gold of Games

Yesterday, Jack Laugher retained his 1m springboard Commonwealth title and today the Englishman was back in the pool try and upgrade his 3m silver medal from Glasgow. Laugher qualified for the final in fifth place but that programme included his fifth dive, which did not go to plan as the Leeds athlete landed on his face.

The home nations were well represented in the 3m final with 1m bronze medallist James Heatly of Scotland competing alongside English brothers Ross and Jack Haslam. There was also a spot in the final for 15-year-old Aidan Heslop of Wales – the first Welsh diver at the Commonwealth Games in 20 years.

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In the final, Laugher eased to victory putting behind him the mistakes of the morning. The Englishman scored a humongous 519.40 to finish 63 points ahead of Canadian Philippe Gagne and it was a further 14 points back to James Connor of Australia. In a packed programme, Laugher achieved two dives of 90+ points executing them to the best of his ability. He combined difficulty with execution to reach the 500 point barrier and upgrade his medal from Glasgow.

It hasn’t been plain sailing for Laugher though, as he has had an injury-hit season and the final saw heavy rain impact some of the divers. The 23-year-old has one competition left – the synchronised 3m springboard – where he will team up with Chris Mears and the Olympic Champions will be looking to defend their Commonwealth title.

Lois Toulson claimed another medal for Team England, as she won bronze in the women’s 10m platform. After a slow start to the competition and a below par second dive, Toulson had a lot of work to do but fought back with her final two dives. They were the highest scoring of her programme and she edged out Malaysia’s Pandelela Rinong Pamg to claim the bronze by four points.

England suffer hockey penalty heartache

At the Gold Coast Hockey Centre, England were beaten on penalties by New Zealand as eight individuals from Team GB’s Olympic gold medal-winning side were on the opposite end of emotions from 2016, losing 2-1 on strokes to the Black Sticks in a tight affair.

In a cagey 60 minutes of play largely dominated by the women in red, a lack of cutting edge from both sides saw the game taken to a penalty competition after England failed to convert any of the five penalty corners as the other end Alex Danson‘s side put in a defensively disciplined performance, but survived a last-gasp scare as ‘keeper Maddie Hinch pulled of a sensational stop to deny the Black Sticks.

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As the contest went to penalty strokes, after both sides missed their opening two attempts, Hannah Martin and Samantha Harrison scored for their respective sides, two more misses followed. As Holly Pern-Webb – who scored the winning penalty in Rio – failed to convert however, Stacey Mickelson raced in against Hinch and deftly flicked the ball high over the goalie and into the net to send England out, left to fight for the bronze medal on Saturday.

On Friday, the men have a chance for redemption as they face favourites Australia for a place in the gold medal match, also on the penultimate day of the Games.

 

Medals for Scotland and England in lawn bowls

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In the women’s triples, Scotland claimed the silver medal having lost the gold medal match to Australia by a score line of 21-12. England, who closely lost the semi-final against Australia, overcame Canada in the bronze medal match. Earlier in the day England lost the Open B6/B7/B8 Triples bronze-medal match against South Africa to finish in fourth.

There will be representation of the home nations in the men’s singles semi-finals as England’s Robert Paxton and Scotland’s Darren Burnett won their quarter-final contests. Scotland also have a team in the women’s pair bronze medal match. While in the men’s fours, Scotland will face Australia in the gold medal match with England playing Wales for the bronze.

The XXI Commonwealth Games continue on Friday and run until Sunday 15 April, on the Gold Coast in Australia.

 

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