Kenya expectedly swept the medals in the 3000-metre steeplechase, with the lesser-known of the trio, Richard Mateelong taking the gold against Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto and World champion Ezekiel Kemboi.
The Kenyans played the waiting game to perfection, allowing Ugandan Ben Siwa to lead and then allowing the other Ugandan, Benjamin Kiplagat, to dictate the pace.
The waiting game was over with three laps to go when Mateelong hit the front followed by Kipruto and Kemboi who just trailed the Ugandan. Into the last lap, the Kenyans shifted gears easily, shaking off the Ugandan who did however hang onto them for quite a while before giving up.
Mateelong, 27, clocked 8:16.39, Kemboi 8:18.47 and Kipruto 8:19.65.
“It's quite fantastic. This was very hard to do but I got it,” said Mateelong. “We just pushed harder,” said the gold winner when asked about what their tactics were to get rid of the persistent Ugandan Kiplagat.
“I am tired as this had been a very long season for me. I think this will be my last Commonwealth Games. I am satisfied with my silver,” said Kemboi, who had a personal best 7:58.85 for the event.
“We didn't have any plans, we just wanted to be 1-2-3,” said Kipruto.
World and Olympic champion Steve Hooker waited till everyone bar Englishman Steven Lewis had left the action. He came in at 5.50 for his first vault, went up to 5.60 which Lewis also cleared. Hooker tried 5.80 once and failed.
He passed the rest as Lewis failed thrice at that height. Hooker won on a count-back.
“I had the pressure on to get it done. It is absolutely thrilling to defend my title. It has been a very long, hard year,” said Hooker.
“I didn't want to give Steve an easy ride for his money,” said Lewis. “I knew that if I jumped 5.70 it would make him sweat,” said the Englishman who has a PB of 5.72. Hooker of course is in the six-metre club.
Sally Pearson put behind the memories of her disqualification in the 100-metre final to effortlessly coast home to a Games record of 12.67 seconds in the 100-metre hurdles final.
Well before the half-way mark, Pearson had built up a commanding lead over her rivals and as she glided over the hurdles, never checking, never hitting one, it was foregone conclusion well before the finish-line.
As she crossed the line Pearson raised her hands and broke into a huge smile and moments later she would bury her head on the shoulders of New Zealander Andrea Miller to weep. The 24-year-old Aussie was disqualified in the last Games in her pet event at home, went onto win the silver at the Beijing Olympics and took a last-minute, bold decision here to compete in the short dash.
Pearson clocked 12.67s, a 10th of a second shy of her season best timed in Stockholm in August. Canadian Angela Whyte who alone managed to put up a fight, coming fast on the inside towards the end, clocked a season best 12.98s. Miller claimed the bronze.
First for Cayman Islands
Cydonie Mothersill claimed for Cayman Islands its first gold, winning the women's 200 metres that had been postponed from Sunday because of a protest from Cyprus. The Cyprus protest about the disqualification of its athlete Eleni Artyamata was rejected.
Mothersill clocked 22.89s while winning the longer dash, ahead of Englishwoman Abiodun Oyepitiyan (23.26s) and Canadian Adrienne Power (23.52).
“Oh my God I am so exited to bring home the gold. It is my first one and I am savouring the moment,” said the 32-year-old Mothersill.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games