THIS IS A MUCH BETTER REPORT & DAY2 WRAP, COURTESY IAAF
79,000 witness Powell saunter to 100m gold - Commonwealth Games, Day Two
Monday 20 March 2006
Melbourne, Australia - Jamaicans proved their sprinting prowess on the second day of the athletics programme at the 18th Commonwealth Games being held at Melbourne Cricket Ground, taking both the men’s and women’s 100m titles through World record holder Asafa Powell and Sheri-Ann Brooks.
Victory with ease
Asafa Powell (JAM) after his 100m win - Melbourne
Powell won the men’s final with ease, clocking 10.03. But surely he would have broken 10 seconds if he hadn’t pulled back on the throttle in the last 10 metres with the gold already in his grasp.
Impressive as Powell was, you could sense the disappointment among the 79,000 spectators. The Jamaican had strolled through his semi effortlessly in the same time and something really special seemed to be on the cards in the final.
The silver went to Nigeria’s Soji Fasuba in 10.11, just two hundredths outside his personal best, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Marc Burns claimed the bronze in 10.17.
Sheri-Ann Brooks (JAM) - assured women’s winner of the 100m - Melbourne
Fasuba was out of the blocks the quickest, but Powell¹s pick-up was superb and he led the race after 40 metres. Fasuba tried to stay with him but Powell had power to spare. Burns suffered from a poor start and left himself too much to do.
“My start let me down but I can’t complain,” said Burns. “It’s a medal.”
One of the favourites, World silver medallist Michael Frater, ruled himself out of the final when he was disqualified for false starting in his semi-final. England’s Mark Lewis-Francis soon followed him into the sin bin, while the first false starter, Australia’s Patrick Johnson, then qualified in third place.
Augustine Choge triumphant over 5000m - Melbourne
Not that any of them would have challenged Powell.
Personal best smashed
Brooks was almost as dominant in the women’s race. She smashed her personal best to take the gold in 11.19. The Jamaican’s previous best was 11.24, but she was the class of the field, and won with daylight to spare over silver medallist Geraldine Pillay of South Africa who clocked 11.31. The bronze went to fast-starting Delphine Atangana of Cameroon in 11.39.
Jane and Natalie Saville after the 20km Race Walk - Melbourne
Pillay had been the fastest qualifier from the three semis earlier in the evening with 11.32, three hundredths quicker than Brooks. But the Jamaican clearly had something in reserve.
Choge holds off Mottram
The race of the night was the highly anticipated men’s 5000m final, billed as a clash between World champion Benjamin Limo of Kenya and Australia’s pin-up boy of distance running Craig Mottram.
Nathan Deakes (AUS) celebrates his 20km Race Walk win - Melbourne
It didn’t turn out quite like that. Mottram beat Limo all right but another Kenyan, Augustine Choge, clung to the Australian’s heels over the last two laps and was too good in the sprint for home. He took the gold in 12:56.41, smashing the Games record by more than 17 seconds.
Mottram had the huge crowd on their feet as he fought of all but one of the Africans. But even the roar of nearly 80,000 Aussies couldn’t drive him past the Kenyan. He took the silver in 12:58.19, while Limo came home third in 13:05.30.
“I’m a bit disappointed,” said Mottram. “I wanted to win, but that’s the nature of running. You win some, you lose some. I am happy I ran under 13 minutes. I didn’t think I would be able to do that in Australia.”
Brooke Krueger (AUS) - Hammer Throw winner - Melbourne
It was a spectacular race, controlled until the last kilometre by a trio of Kenyans, Choge, Limo and Joseph Ebuya. The kilometre split times were 2:39.54, 5:14.60, 7:53.86 and 10:29.80.
Mottram sat patiently in fourth until just before the 4k mark when he made his move, injecting enough pace to drop Limo and Ebuya. But he couldn’t shake Choge who attacked with 250m to go and opened a gap that grew to 15 metres by the finish.
Perhaps the crowd’s deafening noise even worked to the Kenyan’s advantage.
“I don’t know how to describe myself I’m so happy,” said Choge. “When I heard the crowd cheering I felt them pushing me, and I thank them.”
Race walking medal fest for the hosts
The host nation may not have won that one, but they dominated the first two athletics events of the day, sweeping the medals in both the men’s and women’s 20km Race Walks.
Jane Saville exacted some revenge for being disqualified within sight of the finish line at the Sydney Olympic Games five and half years ago by obliterating the field in the walk this morning. The Australian won her third Commonwealth Games title in a row and led a trio of Australians across the line.
It was a family affair for Saville, who smashed her own Games record in 1:32:46, as her sister Natalie took the silver in 1:33:33. Cheryl Webb claimed the bronze in 1:36:03.
“It means a lot to me, especially to do it at home in Australia,” said Saville who led virtually the entire race. “I was never sure I’d won. You know what race walks are like, you haven¹t won until you’ve crossed the line.”
Three hours later Nathan Deakes led from the front to turn the men’s race into a virtual carbon copy of the women’s. Deakes also retained his title and, like Saville, he too smashed his own Games record with a time of 1:19:55.
The silver went to Adam Luke in 1:21:38 and the bronze to 21-year-old local lad Jared Tallent in 1:23:32. All three beat Deakes’ old Games record, with Deakes himself beating his old mark by five minutes 40 seconds.
“I’m a Melbournian at heart and we couldn’t have scripted it better,” said Deakes. “An Aussie trifecta in the women¹s and men¹s, and obviously me getting the gold.”
Aussie’s hammer home success
Mottram’s defeat apart, it was a fantastic day for Australia. Even the women’s Hammer Throw went to the host nation. Brooke Krueger took gold with a Games record of 67.90m, ahead of Canada’s Jenny Joyce. Joyce had set a new Games record herself at 67.29 only minutes before but had to watch as it was eclipsed by the Australian in the fourth round.
”I wasn’t expecting to throw so far so early,” said Krueger, a primary school teacher, afterwards. ‘It’s bloody amazing with the home crowd. I never knew it would be so amazing. It¹s a dream come true.’
Defending champion, and previous Games record holder, Lorraine Shaw of England had to be satisfied with the bronze in her last ever competition. Shaw threw a season’s of 66.00 despite suffering from an inflamed disc for the last six months.
A poor standard men’s Shot Put competition was won by South Africa’s Janus Robberts. None of the competitors could get beyond 20 metres, and Robberts won by one centimetre with 19.76 from Jamaica’s Dorian Scott. Australia’s Martin Scott took the bronze with 19.48.
England’s Dean Macey leads the Decathlon after the first day by 187 points from Australia’s Jason Dudley with pre-Games favourite Maurice Smith of Jamaica in third. Macey started tentatively in the 100m and Long Jump, but produced a personal best of 15.83m in the shot put, pushing him into first place.
“It took bloody four years but what a time to do it,” said Macey, who injured his hamstring just two weeks before the 2002 Games in Manchester, and thought he’d done the same thing just before boarding the plane to Melbourne.”
Last week Macey credited his team medical staff with getting him to the start line in one piece. “The old dog has still got his tricks,” he said. “I should have been a boxer after the Shot Put, I’m so full of adrenaline.”
He went on to jump 2.08 in the High Jump, extending his lead to 184 points, with a four-event total of 3423. The former World Championships medallist then ran a gutsy 49.63 in the 400m to take a healthy lead into the second day.
“I’m chuffed,” said Macey. “I’m in the premium position with just a few boys breathing down my neck. I’m in a pretty good position tonight compared to where I thought I would be,” he added. “But today was hard. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I normally would.”
World and Olympic champion Tonique Williams Darling got a shock in the women’s 400m semi-finals when England’s Christine Ohuruogu overhauled her in the home straight to clock the fastest time of the round, 50.87. Williams may not have been firing on all cylinders, but she wasn’t far off, running 50.97.
Grenada’s double World Indoor champion Alleyne Francique qualified fastest from this morning’s men’s 400m heats, running a season’s best 45.60. And Wales’ Hayley Tullett was quickest in the women’s 1500m heats.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF