Thompson-Herah, Kiplimo celebrate golden Commonwealth doubles
BIRMINGHAM: Jamaican sprint great Elaine Thompson-Herah and distance runner Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda sealed Commonwealth Games doubles by winning the 200 metres and 5,000m .
Thompson-Herah has made sprint doubles her speciality – she is a two-time dual Olympic champion – and she did it in style in Birmingham by setting a new Games record of 22.02sec.
“I was going for a Games record in the 100 and it didn’t work so I said, ‘I must get it in the 200’,” said the Jamaican star.
“I must say I’m just grateful to claim that gold today, the day we celebrate Independence Day in Jamaica.”
Kiplimo emulated compatriot Joshua Cheptegei in 2018 in achieving the distance double, timing 13min 08.08sec.
As he danced over to his team in the stands and did a lap of honour, the loudest roars were heard for Solomon Islands athlete Rosefelo Siosi as he completed his race more than four minutes after Kiplimo had finished.
“It was a wonderful performance for me,” said Kiplimo. “I have two (gold medals) and I’m so happy about it.”
Oliver Hoare earlier became the first Australian to win the 1500m title, timing 3min 30.12sec to break Filbert Bayi’s Games record, which had stood since 1974.
The 25-year-old produced a perfectly timed run down the finishing straight to breeze past first world champion Jake Wightman and Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot, the world champion in 2019.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards lit up the evening session as he successfully defended his 200m title, timing 19.80sec to eclipse the great Frankie Fredericks’ 1994 mark of 19.97.
Hoare’s win was one of three Australian golds.
Kurtis Marschall retained his pole vault title after the event eventually got under way after some of the competitors’ poles were late being delivered to the track.
Jemima Montag added the women’s 10,000m walk to her 20km title in 2018 wiping tears from her eyes as she revealed her late grandmother Judith, a Holocaust survivor who died last year, was her inspiration.
“She teaches me to take one step at a time and it also puts things into perspective,” she said.
‘Everybody went past me’
The Kenyans may have come off second best to Kiplimo but they still won two golds – Abraham Kibiwot in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase and Mary Moraa in the women’s 800m.
Moraa thought she had blown her chances by running far faster than she planned in the first lap.
She dropped back at the bell but incredibly found a second wind to come again, winning in a time of 1:57.07 and inflict more silver misery on England’s Olympic and world runner-up Keely Hodgkinson.
“I am so happy with this win,” said the 22-year-old. “When I reached the 500m, I think everybody went past me.
“But with 200 to go, I closed the gap and then I knew I had to push myself right until the end.”
Scotland’s Laura Muir took bronze on the line – clapping her hands together after a photo finish confirmed first Commonwealth Games medal.
It was deja vu in both the women’s and men’s 400m hurdles – Jamaica’s Janieve Russell and Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands retaining their titles.
For both it was a bright moment in a season blighted by injury.
“It sounds amazing, it sounds very good,” said McMaster of being a two-time Games champion.
“As an athlete you always want to repeat what you started off with.”
It was difficult to tell who wore the biggest smile between McMaster and Alastair Chalmers, the 22-year-old taking bronze and giving Guernsey their first-ever athletics medal at the Games.
Canada’s Camryn Rogers showed real championship mentality.
The world silver medallist in the hammer was in danger of bowing out having fouled her first two throws – only to throw a title-winning 74.08m.
“To come back and get (the winning distance) in the third round was great,” she said.