Commonwealth Games: England’s Elizabeth Bird claims steeplechase silver



Elizabeth Bird
Elizabeth Bird came through to take silver
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
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Elizabeth Bird clinched a thrilling 3,000m steeplechase silver as England won five athletics medals on day eight of the Commonwealth Games.

In the night’s final event, Bird overhauled shattered Ugandan Peruth Chemutai on the last bend and, urged on by the crowd, powered over the line.

Nathan Maguire and Daniel Sidbury secured gold and silver in the men’s T53/54 1500m title.

Triple jumper Naomi Metzger and shot putter Scott Lincoln also won bronzes.

Bird, 27, seemed to be competing for bronze but when Chemutai clattered into a hurdle she sensed her chance and started gaining ground.

“This crowd was amazing,” said Bird. “Those last two laps, when I was trying to close the gap, I was using their energy so thank you to everyone who came here.

“I wish I had started moving sooner because I was so close to the gold, but I will take a silver.”

Kenya’s Jackline Chepkoech claimed the gold in a new Commonwealth best of nine minutes 15.680 seconds, while England’s Aimee Pratt finished fourth.

Maguire joined his fiancee Hannah Cockroft in winning gold – she claimed the women’s 100m T33/34 title on Wednesday – and then revealed what the occasion meant to him.

“The fact we are here on the same stage as the able-bodied guys is massive,” he told BBC Sport.

“When I was growing up there was no representation or TV coverage of any Para-sport so the fact we are on primetime TV, showing the kids what they could be in the future, that’s so important.”

Metzger twice broke her personal best to secure a medal, leaping 14.32 with her first jump and then 14.39 with her third.

Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts set a new Commonwealth record of 14.94m to take the gold.

Lincoln, a bricklayer, powered his fifth throw 20.57m to claim bronze in a shot put competition dominated by New Zealand’s Tom Walsh.

Hughes impresses but Gemili struggles again

Zharnel Hughes
Hughes will go for 200m gold on Saturday

England’s Zharnel Hughes won his 200m semi-final in style to book his place in Saturday’s final as the fastest qualifier, but Adam Gemili missed out.

Hughes was roared around the bend by the home fans and was able to ease up before crossing the line in 20.32 seconds.

He said: “I was wondering where is everyone else? Because I thought they were pretty close to me. I executed a good race.”

Hughes will go head to head with 2018 champion Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago, who won his semi-final in 20.40.

Gemili started well but dropped back to fourth place, with his time of 20.97 not quick enough to qualify from a semi-final won by Nigerian Udodi Onwuzurike.

It is the latest disappointment for Gemili, having been knocked out of the heats at the World Championships in Eugene last month.

Then, he initially blamed the media spotlight on his controversial ex-coach Rana Reider for impacting his form and mindset.

The 28-year-old, who has been based in Florida, split from Reider just days before the Games.

“I know there have been issues with me this year – it has affected me,” said Gemili. “Physically I’m OK, but there has been a lot which has affected my training and the mental side for me.”

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah cruised to victory in her 200m semi-final, timing 22.63 seconds despite powering down in the final 20m.

Namibia’s Christine Mboma, the Olympic silver medallist, and Nigerian teenager Favour Ofili won the other two semi-finals, while Scotland’s Beth Dobbin booked her place in the final as a fastest loser.

Hudson-Smith ‘gets the job done’

Local boy Matthew Hudson-Smith, who won world bronze last month, maintained his impressive form by winning his 400m semi-final.

“It was cold and a messy run but the job was to get through to the final and I have done that,” he told BBC Sport.

“The first 50m was not that good, my legs were all over the place. I am still a bit tired from Eugene but the crowd lifted me and I can’t complain.”

England’s Victoria Ohuruogu, who is coached by sister Christine, won her 400m semi-final in 51.34 seconds. Team-mates Ama Pipi and Jodie Williams also qualified directly while Scotland’s Zoey Clark went through as the fastest loser but Nicole Yeargin missed out.

Muir on course for Commonwealth double

In the morning session, Scotland’s Laura Muir finished fifth in her 1500m heat to reach Sunday’s final.

She ran four minutes 14.11 seconds as she paced herself carefully having also reached Saturday’s 800m final.

A Commonwealth Games medal is the only one missing from Muir’s collection after she finished 11th in the 1500m – having been clipped – in 2014 and skipped the Gold Coast four years ago to focus on her veterinary exams.

“This is the last one. If I can get not just one but two it would be very special,” she said.

“It’s going to be hard. The Commonwealth in these distances is really strong, but it’s an amazing opportunity to give it my best. I would hate to be sitting at home watching the final thinking I could be part of it.”

Scotland team-mate Jemma Reekie also qualified along with England’s Katie Snowden and Melissa Courtney-Bryant.

England’s Cindy Sember ran 12.67 seconds to win her 100m hurdles heat on her 28th birthday, while in the long jump team-mates Jazmin Sawyers (6.80m), Lorraine Ugen (6.79m) and Abigail Irozuru (6.59m) all reached the final.

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