McColgan and Johnson-Thompson win memorable Commonwealth titles

Eilish McColgan Brum CG Champ

There were gold medals for England, Scotland and Wales on a hugely successful night for the home nations as Eilish McColgan emulated her mother’s achievements by taking the 10,000m title, Katarina Johnson-Thompson retained her heptathlon crown, and Aled Davies won his first Commonwealth title in the Discus.There were plenty of qualifiers for the men's 800m and 1500m finals too.

Starting the medal rush off was Eilish McColgan (handicap -4.3) who produced the gutsiest run of her career to win the Commonwealth 10,000m title after a scintillating sprint finish against the Kenyan, Irine Chepet Cheptai.

The Scottish athlete matched her mum, Liz’s, achievement from 1986 and 1990 when she won the Commonwealth 10,000m title, and she did it is special fashion in front of a raucous Birmingham crowd.

In the early stages the pace was slower than the field were capable of which led to the Scot pushing on and forcing the field to raise the tempo. After a few laps of attrition, a group containing McColgan, Cheptai and Sheila Chepkirui Kiprotich (KEN) were left, with Uganda’s Stella Chesang and England’s Jess Judd (handicap -3.7) dropping off the pace. As the laps ticked down, the intrigued grew and as Kiprotich fell off the pace and started to limp, it became a head-to-head between Scotland and Kenya for the gold. Gritting teeth as the bell tolled, McColgan mustered one last push over the final lap and broke free as she entered the last 100m to take a popular and memorable victory at the Alexander Stadium. She set a Games record time of 30:48.80 in the process.

Judd was next home in fifth place in a time of 31:18.47 while her English teammate Samantha Harrison  (handicap -2.7) ran a superb PB of 31:21.53 to finish one place behind. Sarah Inglis (handicap -2.5) of Scotland was the next finisher in 32:04.74 in ninth, but sadly Northern Ireland’s Hannah Irwin (handicap -1.5) did not finish after stepping off the track just after 4000m.

After a tough couple of years, Katarina Johnson-Thompson (handicap 6.9) showed her quality as she retained the heptathlon title after a superb series across the seven events. Northern Ireland’s Kate O'Connor (handicap 11.1) won her country’s first athletics medal of the Games with silver, while Jade O'Dowda (handicap 6.2) bagged her first senior medal as she added bronze to Team England’s medal haul.

KJT opened the day with a solid 6.33m mark in the long jump which collected 953 points to extend her overnight lead. Jade O’Dowda’s impressive 6.53m jump was head and shoulders above the rest of the field which moved her up to second overall as the Northern Irish athlete dropped down to fifth.

Next up during the evening session was the javelin, and there was further delight for Johnson-Thompson as she threw a 44.38m personal best on her third and final throw. As she launched the javelin, the crowd held its breath but as it landed the scream went up from the English athlete and celebrations followed as the mark flashed up on the scoreboard. It almost guaranteed her the gold medal as she headed towards the 800m. O’Connor threw the furthest with 51.14m which took her back up to second with O’Dowda back into third with one discipline remaining.

As the 800m began, the three athletes’ occupying the medal positions knew what they had to do to remain in those placings, and all three did their job professionally. England’s Holly Mills (handicap 3.2) won the race in 2:11.42 which confirmed fourth position overall for her, but Johnson-Thompson followed next to win with 6377 points, O’Connor in silver with 6233 and O’Dowda third with 6212 points.

Aled Davies (Team Wales) won his first ever Commonwealth title in the F42-44 Discus Final with 51.39m in round five.

Ben Pattison (handicap -6.8) comfortably won his 800m heat to qualify for the final as the fastest British runner in the final on this year’s performances along with Jamie Webb(handicap -6.7) and Guy Learmonth(handicap -6.0) who achieved smooth progression into the men’s 800m final after locking out the top two in the opening heat.

Several home nations athletes will battle it out for the medals in Saturday morning’s men’s 1500m final as six athletes qualified through the heats. World champion Jake Wightman (handicap -7.0) will be joined by Scottish teammates Neil Gourley (handicap -6.7) and Josh Kerr (handicap -7.0), as well as English duo Elliot Giles (handicap -6.7) and Matthew Stonier (handicap -6.4), and Wales’s Jake Heyward (handicap -6.5) for a tilt at the medals.

Wales’s Piers Copeland (handicap -5.9) and Isle of Man’s David Mullarkey (handicap -5.7) did not progress through as they finished outside the automatic qualifying places in the slower of the two heats.

Full British Athletics Commonwealth report here