Dina Asher-Smith (club: Blackheath & Bromley, coach: John Blackie) and Zharnel Hughes (Shaftesbury Barnet, Glen Mills) were among those who impressed on the third day of athletics at the Commonwealth Games, as John Lane (Sheffield & Dearne, Toni Minichiello) also moved up to fourth in the decathlon.
It was a clean sweep for Team England athletes in the 200m heats as Dina Asher-Smith, Finette Agyapong (Newham & Essex Beagles, Coral Nourrice) and Bianca Williams (Enfield & Haringey, Lloyd Cowan) and all advanced to the semi-final.
Asher-Smith looked incredibly comfortable in heat one, firing out of the blocks to open up a significant margin on the rest of the field. In an effort to conserve energy ahead of tomorrow’s semi-final, she had time to shut down and cruise to the line with 60m to go, stopping the clock at 23.28 (+0.3). The ease of her performance shows a sign of intent from the Team England athlete.
She spoke post-race: “I was feeling good; I just wanted to do enough to qualify and conserve as much energy as possible. I wanted to qualify safely and I managed to do that.”
Agyapong looked composed in her 200m heat – on her Games debut – placing in second place behind Olympic champion Elaine Thompson in 23.15 (-0.1).
Williams, bronze medallist from Glasgow four years ago, confirmed her place in the semi-finals by chasing Shericka Jackson (JAM) to place second in 23.20 (-0.4).
In the men’s equivalent, Zharnel Hughes and Richard Kilty (Middlesbrough (Mandale)) impressed to progress to the semis.
Hughes dominated the final heat of the session, making a 20.34 (-0.4) time look very comfortable. After setting the fastest time recorded in Australia since the early 2000s at a pre-competition in Brisbane a week and a half ago, Hughes again showed why he so heavily touted for this competition, but he isn’t getting complacent.
He said: “It felt really good. I just wanted to go out there and qualify, take it as easy as possible and get through to the next round.”
On his expectations for the semi-finals, he added: “For me, going out there and executing again. Once I execute and get into the finals, same thing again. I'm not putting any expectations on myself that I'm going to get a medal, I'm not thinking like that. For me it's round by round and once I do that and stay relaxed, everything should be ok.”
Kilty also eased his way to the semi-finals, settling for second behind Clarence Munyai (RSA) in a steady 21.08 (-0.7).
After finishing day one of the decathlon with 3986 points for 7th place, John Lane made some movement up the leaderboard after eight events. Most dramatically, the event leader, Canada’s Damian Warner, fell out of contention as he no heighted in the pole vault.
The Gold Coast-based Lane started his day in the 110m hurdles, posting 14.96 (-0.8) to collect 854 points which maintained his seventh place overall.
But then came the highlight of the morning for the multi-eventer as he launched the discus out to 43.79m, adding 73cm to his personal best. A 4.80m clearance in the pole vault – his best since 2015 – moved him up to fourth overall in the standings on 6431 points, behind third place Cedric Dubler (AUS) on 6749 points.
Outcomes mixed in 800m and 400mH
Earlier in the session, there was seamless qualification to the 800m final for Kyle Langford (Shaftesbury Barnet, Jon Bigg), who placed second in his heat in 1:45.61.
The fourth placer at last summer’s IAAF World Championships came through very strongly with 200m to go as he chose to sit off the pace of the leading pair on the final lap. The Englishman showed patience around the bend to reel in Australia’s Joseph Deng and seal the all-important second automatic qualification spot.
Afterwards he said: “I paced it well; I knew I was going to catch them down the last 100m. I had enough left in the tank so I’m really excited to get going in that final. I felt really easy all the way round and got through so that is all that matters.”
However, there was disappointment for Elliot Giles (Birchfield, Jon Bigg) and Andrew Osagie (Harlow, Mark Rowland), who bowed out in the heats.
Giles found the going tough in a heat won by Olympic medallist Nijel Amos (BOT), placing sixth in 1:48.54. In the following heat, Osagie was part of a stretched-out pack of five who were in contention with 200m to go but he could not go with the injection of pace, crossing the line in fifth position in 1:48.20.
Jack Green (Kent, June Plews) produced a fine-display to confirm his place in Wednesday’s 400m Hurdles final. Focused on the job as ever, Green powered his way around the opening 300m and stepped it up a level in the home straight. Coming off the bend in fourth position, Green overhauled Koech (KEN) and Alowonle (NGR) in the final 50m, moving off the final hurdle strongly to seal his place for a shot at the podium.
Green commented post-race: “It was solid but nothing to shout home about. I had a job to do here and you can just go for it when it is straight to a final.
“This competition is really important to me so I have put a lot of emphasis on this; I’ve never done a Commonwealth Games before. The last time they were on in Glasgow, I bought tickets to go up and watch it with my mum, so to now be in a Commonwealth final is huge.”
Meghan Beesley (Birchfield, Michael Baker) and Jessica Turner (Amber Valley & Erewash, Nick Dakin) were sixth and seventh respectively in the women’s 400m hurdles heats. Their times of 56.41 and 58.26 did not see them progress.
A second-round jump of 8.02m secured progression to the men’s long jump final for Dan Bramble (Shaftesbury Barnet, Frank Attoh). A conservative 7.60m leap in round one preceded the plus eight-metre effort – well over the 7.90m needed to automatically progress. He was one of six athletes to jump beyond that distance to consolidate his spot in Wednesday’s final.
The evening session gets underway at 10:20am (UK time). Click here for full results.