Nick Miller (Club: Border Harriers, Coach: Tore Gustafsson) became the first British man ever to exceed 80 metres in the hammer, as he secured Commonwealth Gold with a huge throw of 80.26m, a games record and an improvement of almost two metres on the mark he set last month in the United States.
The 24-year-old got off to a rocky start, a touch of cramp in his wrist affecting his first throw and sending his second high into the cage. So it wasn’t until the third round that Miller exerted control over the competition, his 76.48m ensuring a lead that he wouldn’t relinquish.
At that stage it was teammate Taylor Campbell (Sheffield and Dearne, Tore Gustafsson) who led, thanks to a first round 71.69m. The 21-year-old produced a consistent series culminating in 72.03m in the fifth, which at that stage looked good enough for a bronze medal behind Miller and Australia’s Matty Denny.
It was in the fourth round that Miller sent the hammer spiraling past the 80m mark, to gasps from the Australian crowd, rewriting the record books as it went.
“It is the result of a lot of hard work between me and my coach,” confirmed a delighted Miller. “It has all paid off in the end. It is just incredible to win the gold; it is such a special moment for me as my family are in the crowd; they will be more pleased that I threw over 80m.”
The record may have been welcome, but it wasn’t unexpected.
“To be honest, I thought I could throw 80m; it is the distance every hammer thrower wants to make. The best part is that I beat my coach. We joked for years that I’d throw over his best (80.14m) and when 80.26m came up, it was one up on him.”
Campbell, although disappointed to miss out on a medal after Scotland's Mark Dry went out to 73.12m in round six, reflected on a strong showing at his first multi-sport games.
“It was nice to be in a medal position for a few rounds,” said Campbell. “I tried to respond in the last round but I didn’t quite get it.
“After my earlier fails in the second and third rounds, it would have felt nice, but at the minute I’m still very early on in my throwing this season. It’s a bit frustrating, but I tried to give it my all. For my first senior experience, it’s bittersweet. I didn’t blow out and do awfully, but there’s still more to come.”
“There’s big throws in there – there’s no reason why I can’t PB soon. Every competition I learn more about my technique and I’ve just got to be patient with it all.”
Kingsbury sixth in competitive T38 Long Jump
Molly Kingsbury (Bracknell AC) finished sixth in a highly competitive T38 long jump final that saw Wales’ Olivia Breen (City of Portsmouth, Aston Moore) set a Games record 4.86m to beat Australia’s Erin Cleaver and Taylor Doyle to the gold medal.
Kingsbury, just 16 years of age and the youngest on the field by two years, leaped 3.70m in the first round to match the distance she produced at last year’s World Para Athletics Junior Championships, and then 3.85m in round three, her best jump since 2015.
She was, understandably, pleased.
“I got a season’s best which is great as last year I didn’t have a very good year with injuries and just not believing in myself. I got 3.70 at the World Juniors in Switzerland last year and now I’ve come to the Commonwealth Games and have really enjoyed the experience.
“I still feel tiny amongst the seniors – they’re amazing and I’m only 16! But I’ve loved every second of it.”
Philip progresses, Humphreys misses out
2018 British 60m champion Asha Philip (Newham and Essex Beagles, Steve Fudge) qualified for Monday’s 100m final with ease, clocking 11.31 to win her first round race before producing an even more impressive 11.21 to dominate the first of three semi finals.
The 27-year-old sped from the blocks to build a 10 metre lead by the 80 metre mark and could afford to ease down, saving energy for the challenge to come.
“I feel good to say they are my first 100m races of the season,” she commented. “I'm in the final and that's what I wanted. I can go back and relax now knowing I've got the first part of the job done.”
“I'm tired now after two rounds in one day. But I'm so confident moving into the final, so I'm excited to get back on the track.”
Corinne Humphreys (Enfield & Haringey, Ryan Freckleton) clocked 11.66 for fifth place in a competitive semi final that was won by Jamaica’s Christania Williams and missed out on a final place.
Gemili sprints through
Adam Gemili (Blackheath and Bromley, Rana Reider) sped to 10.11 to finish second in his semi final to Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, raising the prospect of a tantalising final.
The 24-year-old had earlier on Saturday won his heat in 10.24 and felt positive about his prospects heading into Monday’s race, knowing that there is more to come as he seeks another Commonwealth medal to add to those he won in Glasgow four years ago.
“I’ve made the final but I didn’t really run as well as I could have done,” he confirmed. “I started well but in the transition phase I left myself a lot of work to do. The top speed was ok so I’m happy to reach the final. It’s all about focusing on the recovery now to be at my best for it.”
“I just have to smash it in one race tomorrow. It’s going to be very tough with the Jamaicans and the South Africans so it is going to be fast. I believe if I get my race right, I will be fine.”
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Sutton, Benke Blomkvist) went agonizingly close to joining his teammate, clocking 10.26 for fourth in the third semi final, missing out by just 1/1000ths of a second.
Yousif and Cowan progress in 400m
Rabah Yousif (Newham & Essex Beagles, Carol Williams) took third spot in the first 400m heat, battling hard down the home straight to clock 46.09 behind Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio and Jamaica’s Javon Francis. Dwayne Cowan (Hercules Wimbledon, Lloyd Cowan), finished second in an encouraging 45.68 in the fifth heat, just 0.34 outside the personal best he set last season.
Matthew Hudson-Smith (Birchfield, Lance Braumann) was disqualified following a lane infringement after initially winning his heat.