Scotland’s Laura Muir celebrates after winning gold in the Women’s 1500m final, Birmingham August 7, 2022. — Reuters pic
BIRMINGHAM, Aug 8 — Scotland’s Laura Muir ended her Commonwealth Games campaign with a flourish by winning gold in the 1500m on the final day of the athletics competition in Birmingham.
The 29-year-old’s team-mate, 10,000m champion Eilish McColgan, just failed make it a memorable double, finishing second behind Kenya’s impressive world silver medallist Beatrice Chebet in the 5,000m.
The athletes were roared on by another sell-out crowd at Alexander Stadium, who have been undaunted by the absence of some big names including sprint stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Andre de Grasse.
Those that stayed to the end on Sunday watched in bitter disappointment as England’s women’s 4x400m relay team were disqualified for a lane infringement, with Canada taking gold.
Muir, who won bronze in the 800m on Saturday, kicked for glory before the bell and ran a fairly moderate field — lacking two-time Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon — ragged, timing 4min 02.75sec.
The Olympic silver medallist was overjoyed, having failed to medal in 2014 and missing the 2018 Games due to veterinary exams.
“You learn from it and your time will come,” said Muir, who will bid for more gold medals in the upcoming European Championships.
“It sounds cheesy but it’s true. Eight years of Commonwealths and it’s been bugging me so this means a lot.”
The bold front-running McColgan had nothing left in her legs when Chebet made her move with 200m to go.
Chebet strode away to time 14:38.21 for Kenya’s fifth successive win in the race.
“I realised I was still strong and I knew the other two ladies (McColgan and bronze medallist Selah Busienei) were there,” said Chebet.
“I knew I had a kick so I tried to see if I could go and make it to be a champion.”
‘Tomorrow you lose’
Chebet’s impressive performance came shortly after Wyclife Kinyamal’s win in the men’s 800m in a time of 1:47.52.
He successfully defended his title, running a sublime tactical race and kicking away from Australian Peter Bol with 200m to go.
It was an impressive turnaround for the 25-year-old, who finished last in the final of the world championships in July.
“Eugene (the world final) was disappointing but it is just like any race,” he said. “Because if today you win, tomorrow you lose.
“I guess because I failed there, I looked forward to coming here to defend my title.”
India have had an excellent athletics competition — Eldhose Paul won their first-ever men’s triple jump gold earlier on Sunday — but bitter rivals Pakistan also had a taste of glory.
Arshad Nadeem, wearing strapping around his right arm, gave the Asian nation their first javelin gold with a Games record mark of 90.18 metres.
Nigeria’s Ese Brume won the women’s long jump competition, leaping 7.00m.
Despite the fierce competition, though there was still room for sentiment between rivals.
Matthew Hudson-Smith was at such a low ebb last year he attempted to commit suicide but looked set for gold in the men’s 400m on Sunday morning.
However, unknown Zambian teenager Muzala Samukonga produced a stunning burst of speed in the final 50m to pass four rivals and take his country’s first gold in the event.
The 19-year-old exited the track in a wheelchair and then broke down at the medal ceremony, with Hudson-Smith putting a hand on his shoulder.
Sada Williams gave Barbados their first gold in the women’s 400m while world record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria won the women’s 100m hurdles.
Recently crowned world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia won the women’s javelin with a throw of 64.43m while Canada’s Evan Dunfee won the men’s 10,000 race walk.
Trinidad and Tobago won the men’s 4x400m relay. — AFP