Indian all-comers records were bettered by long jumper Fabrice Lapierre and high jumper Donald Thomas as the Commonwealth Games track and field action touched true world-class levels at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
A crowd of around 45,000 cheered every Indian performance without the home athletes responding enthusiastically, but the foreign athletes must have enjoyed the atmosphere despite another hot evening.
Fourth best mark
Lapierre, World Indoor champion, touched 8.30m, the fourth best mark in the world this season, in the second round and that bettered world record holder Mike Powell's all-comers record of 8.28m at the same stadium in 1993. Bronze winner last time, Lapierre was the odds-on-favourite in this event. The Australian had done 8.00m in the qualifying round.
Thomas, world high jump champion in 2007, scaled 2.30, equalling his season best. It was the 11th best mark in the world this season. He went for the Games record of 2.36 but had three failures.
However, the 2.30 bettered the best that India had seen at home. That happened to be Pole Alexander Walerianczyk's 2.26m in Hyderabad in 2007.
Clean sweep likely
With three world-class athletes leading the pack in the women's 3000m steeplechase, Kenya had ensured a clean sweep of the medals even before the start of the event, unless something terrible happened.
It almost happened when Gladys Jerotich Kipkemoi stumbled at the penultimate water jump and lost touch with the front bunch, leaving Milcah Chemos Cheywa and Mercy Wanjiru Njoroge to fight it out for the gold.
Chemos, who is the World championship bronze medallist and the recent Continental Cup silver winner said that she was happier for Mark Kiprotich Muttai who pulled off rare 400m victory in the men's section.
Chemos, who is also the world leader this season (9:11.71 in Rome in June) timed 9:40.96, Wanjiru 9:41.54 and Jerotich 9:52.51.
Valeri Adams (nee Vili) took the women's shot put gold with the expected ease of a champion that she is. With a 20.47m heave Adams had the gold nailed. She exulted as a rookie would do in getting her first title or record.
Adams is the World and Olympic champion, though. Her opponents knew the futility of trying to match her.
“I knew the gold medal was unreachable today,” said Cleopatra Brown of Trinidad and Tobago, the silver winner. “Valerie is a great person; she deserves it,” said the Trinidadian.
“The standard in the Commonwealth is not that high; so I didn't want just to win, I wanted to set a good mark,” said Adams.
The burly, smiling Kiwi bettered her own Games record of 19.66m set in Melbourne four years ago. “Job done. This is what I wanted, to rip it up and throw big and win gold,” she said.
In the absence of World champion Jessica Ennis, England had another candidate to take he heptathlon title. Louise Hazel won it at 6156, a personal best for the 24-year-old.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games