The international stars did not really set alight the Nehru Stadium with their performance on the concluding day of the track and field action in the Commonwealth Games here on Tuesday.
But the ‘roar' of a crowd of over 45,000 would have given one the impression that the contests were of such calibre that the Indians would have found it difficult to match. It was not. The crowd went ecstatic because of some rare medal-winning streak by the home athletes.
Every time an Indian jumped or threw or lined up on the starting block, the crowd erupted.
On such a day, the world-ranked stars shone only in patches, aiming as they were for medals rather than for top-level performances.
A predictable Kenyan sweep in the women's 5000 metres, led by World champion Vivian Cheruiyot, ensued amidst all the shouting for home star Renjith Maheswary at the triple jump pit.
There was drama and excitement aplenty in the relays with India always in contention except in the men's longer relay. But it was England which carried the day here, winning both the sprint relays against modest opposition.
Mark Lewis-Francis ran a great anchor for the men to overhaul Jamaican Rose Remaldo who had a clear lead. Jamaica, as is well known, was without its leading sprinters in both sections, the top seven missing among men and top 40 absent among women.
P.T. Usha, enjoying the proceedings in the company of her ward Tintu Luka, who seemed to have recovered from her Monday debacle in the 800 metres, was astonished that the standards in sprint relays had come down so drastically.
Not so bad
The standards were not so bad in the women's 5000 metres in which Cheruiyot, joining her team late after having stayed back because of security fears, hit the front with seven laps to go and stayed there till the end.
The challenge, if any, to the world champion came from teammates Sylvia Kibet and Ines Chenonge, though for quite some time Scot Stephanie Twell also tried to tag on with the Kenyans.
Twell's folly was in running outside, with the three Kenyans giving her little room inside to sneak past. Cheruiyot clocked 15:55.12, the best seen on Indian soil; Kibet had 15:55.61 and Chenonge 16:02.47.
Silas Kiplagat, the 21-year-old Kenyan, tipped to take over metric mile running in the near future at the world level, effortlessly won the 1500 metres, but in a slow 3:41.78.
He had a PB of 3:29.27 while winning the Monaco Grand Prix this season.
Australian Alana Boyd claimed the women's pole vault gold with a season best 4.40 after a countback with Cypriot Marianna Zachariadi who also had a season best to tie for the top spot.
The leading contenders, Kate Dennison of England (4.60 season best) and Canadian Carly Dockendorf cleared 4.25m only and along with Canadian Kelsie Hendry who has an indoor 4.55 this year, shared the bronze.
Jarrod Bannister of Australia, who was sixth at the Beijing Olympics, won the javelin contest with an 81.71, but the rest of the standards were so abysmal that it looked the Indians might bag more than one medal with performances not crossing 75 metres.
In triple jump, Nigerian Tosin Oke had one jump of 17.16, in the second round, and four fouls and yet won the gold. He passed his last attempt.
Cameroon's Lucien Hugo Mamba came up with a National record of 17.14 in the last round to deprive India of a silver.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games