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Grenadian Kirani James wins Commonwealth Games 400m title with record run

GLASGOW (SportingAlert) — Grenadian star sprinter Kirani James defeated a very strong field to win the men’s 400m at the Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Wednesday night.

The Olympic champion, who entered the Commonwealth Games as the overwhelming favourite, ran 44.25 seconds to also shattered the meeting record of 44.52secs, which was set in 1998 by Iwan Thomas of Wales.

James took control of the race from the beginning and then made another move at the 200m mark as he heads into the home straight.

The 21-year-old was forced to find another gear in the closing metres though, after he was challenged by Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa, who ran brilliantly well for the silver medal.

“The race wasn’t as fast as it looked but Kirani James took real charge of things,” said former sprinter and 400m world record holder Michael Johnson on BBC One.

“It was a great effort from Wayde van Niekerek who ran the 200m prelims this morning. Maybe if he hadn’t have done that he could have got that bit closer to James and pushed him all the way to the line.

Van Niekerk was second in 44.68 and it was a brave effort from the South African sprinter.

“A really brave effort from Wayde van Niekerk who gave Kirani James a run for his money but the man from Grenada answered all the questions he was asked. He’s on top of the world again,” BBC Sport athletics commentator Steve Cram said.

London Olympic Games bronze medal winner Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 44.78, with England’s Martyn Rooney finishing fourth in 45.15.

Veteran Chris Brown of the Bahamas, who was one of the runners on the list of medal contenders, did not start in the final.

Blessing

Okagbare and Bailey-Cole are Commonwealth Games 100m champions

GLASGOW (SportingAlert) — Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria and Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole won the men’s and women’s 100m titles at the Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park on Monday.

Okagbare, who started the day as the 1/4 favourite to win the gold medal, showed her class against a very strong field on her way to clocking a Commonwealth Games record of 10.85 seconds for the title.

“I am so excited right now! A new season’s best and win. I’m happy I was able to put on a show,” Okagbare told BBC Sport.

“I executed it and stayed patient like my coach said I should and after 70 metres it just felt easy!

The Nigerian is the heavy favourite win the 200m and the long jump and she is looking forward to competing in those as well.

“I still have the 200m and the long jump and I’m looking forward to both of those events now.”

Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown collected the silver medal in 11.03secs, with countrywoman Kerron Stewart taking the bronze in 11.07.

England’s Asha Phillip took fourth place, and although she missed out at winning a medal, the sprinter was happy with her new personal best time of 11.18.

She told BBC Sport after the race: “Fourth is always the first loser as people say, but I’m so proud of myself.

“I wanted a medal but it’s my first Commonwealth Games and I’ve loved the experience. I am going to take it on the chin and there’s more to come from me.”

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Bailey-Cole used a strong finish to secure the gold medal in 10.00seconds, while his teammate and world record holder Usain Bolt watched.

“It means a lot because it’s my first individual medal at a Championship,” Bailey-Cole speaking to BBC Radio 5. “It’s just the start of the individual medals.

“The aim was to come out here and win and I did just that. I said to myself ‘these guys can’t beat me’”.

The Jamaican sped home ahead of England’s Adam Gemili, who clocked 10.10 seconds, while Jamaican champion Nickel Ashmeade, the 4/1 favourite at the start of the day, won the bronze in 10.12.

“This is my first senior medal. I’m speechless,” Gemili told BBC Sport after winning the silver medal. “There’s so much prepration that goes into running 10 seconds – my team put a lot of work in behind the scenes. I can’t believe it, this is my first time representing England and I’m so happy.

“This is something I’m never going to forget. It’s not about times today, it’s positions because the times will come.

“Medals are what count and this is a stepping stone now for the Europeans, Worlds and then Rio in 2016.”

Commonwealth Games men’s 100m heats recap

GLASGOW (SportingAlert) — Track and field action got underway at the Commonwealth Games with the men’s 100 metres heats at Hampden Park Stadium on Sunday.

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Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole looked easy when winning his heat, as he came back from a slow start to win the first heat of the men’s 100m in 10.16 seconds. Bailey-Cole, who trains with Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, beat Barbados’ Ramon Gittens and he was second in 10.34.

Bailey-Cole, meanwhile, was also not buying into the hype of how fast the track really is.

“The track is just average,” the Jamaican sprinter told BBC One in an interview.

Another Jamaican, Jason Livermore, won the second heat just as easily in 10.26secs, beating Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Jason Rogers, who posted 10.39.

Jamaican champion Nickel Ashmeade won his heat as well – taking first place in a very relaxed 10.40secs, after easing down some 40metres away from the finishing line.

Elsewhere, Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson, the fastest man in the Commonwealth this year, finished third in his heat, but still managed to earn a spot in the semi-finals.

After running 10.33 seconds to make it as one of the fastest losers, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist revealed that he was guilty of underestimating his competitors. Nigerian Mark Jelks, a former USA sprinter, won the heat in 10.28, with Warren Fraser from the Bahamas also beating Thompson.

“I just underestimated the runners,” he said to BBC One.

He, however, added: “I feel good and I am ready to run fast tomorrow. It’s about running your rounds using less energy because you want to run fast in the finals.

Adam Gemili (10.15) of England was the fastest qualifier after he dominated his heat in the cool conditions.

“To come out to hear that cheer makes you want to push that bit harder and do well so I am truly grateful for the reception,” Gemili told BBC One.
“It’s onto the semi-finals and I’m looking forward to it.”

Also going fast in the early rounds was Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago, who won the ninth and final heat in 10.16.

Other heat winners on Sunday were Kemar Hyman (10.20) from the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Bermuda’s Daniel Bailey (10.30), Simbine Akani (10.32) of South Africa.

American former sprinter and BBC Sport athletics expert Michael Johnson, believes with the likes of Asafa Powell, Blake and Bolt not running in Glasgow, the Commonwealth Games men’s 100m is wide open.

“It’s a fantastic venue. I think that the 100m is wide open because some of the big names aren’t here, so we should see some great competition,” said Johnson.

“The Commonwealth Games is always an opportunity for young, up-and-coming athletes, so it should be exciting.”

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Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce of Jamaica: Photo by TrackandFieldPhoto

Lots of Olympic champions on show at Glasgow Diamond League

Olympic champions David Rudisha, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Carmelita Jeter and Ashton Eaton are just a few of the latest names to confirm that they will compete at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix at Hampden Park on 11-12 July.

The quartet will join 22 world champions and 25 Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists, which represents the most impressive athletic line-up ever assembled in Scotland, just two weeks before the Commonwealth Games. Britain’s biggest stars Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar), Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) and Greg Rutherford (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) are already confirmed alongside Scottish stars Eilidh Child (Malcolm Arnold), Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider), Chris O’Hare (Terrance Mahon) and Laura Muir (Andy Young).

With the USA and a host of other nations not competing at the Commonwealth Games, the Diamond League meet will offer fans the chance to see the world’s best competing at Hampden Park in the first ever IAAF Diamond League meet staged in Scotland. For those who missed out on Glasgow 2014 tickets, this is an unmissable opportunity to experience the world’s premier athletics series in the city.

Rudisha will be making his first appearance in the UK since breaking the 800m world record on his way to Olympic gold at London 2012, and he marked his return to form with a triumph at the New York Diamond League last weekend.

The 25 year old said: “I haven’t competed in the UK since winning gold at the Olympics, so to return to the UK for the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix is something that I’m really excited about.

“Winning gold at the Olympic Games and being the first ever athlete to go below the 1:41 barrier is my biggest achievement to date. Having only just returned to track action, my victory at the New York Diamond League has given me a lot of confidence and something which I will take with me to Hampden Park.

“The Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix will give me the best possible preparation for the Commonwealth Games. I know the field will include not only the best athletes in the Commonwealth, but the world too. I know I will have to perform at my best to secure another victory on the Diamond League circuit.`’

Carmelita Jeter, the second fastest woman of all time over 100m will return to the UK after winning a complete set of medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The American, who won 4×100 gold, 100m silver and 200m bronze in Olympic Stadium is excited at the prospect of running in one of the best line-ups staged in the UK.

The 34 year old said: “The Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix will be one of the first meets of my outdoor season and I’m looking to put on a good show for the crowd in July. Even four weeks out, we have multiple Olympic and world champions confirmed for the event, which shows how high the standard will be and something which I will relish, being an athlete that thrives on the big stage.

“With the standard of women’s sprinting improving all the time, I’ve got to have my eyes on all seven of the athletes that line up against me on the start line at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix.

“The British crowd always treat me as one of their own and that is the main reason why I keep on coming back year after year.”

Eaton meanwhile not only won gold at London 2012, but also triumphed at last year’s World Championships, before going on to defend his World Indoor heptathlon crown in Sopot in March.

With no major championships scheduled for the 26 year old this year, Eaton has opted to test his hand at the 400m hurdles this year, and will be looking to take the scalps of another world-class field at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix in July.

The world record holder made another piece of history this month by becoming the first decathlete to win an individual event at the Oslo Diamond League, as the American took a notable victory over 2011 world silver medallist LJ Van Zyl and has since lowered his personal best to 48.94 after just six races.

“2014 will give me a chance to recharge my batteries ahead of the World Championships in 2015 and Rio 2016, where I will be looking to defend my decathlon titles.

“To have the opportunity to compete in the UK at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix is something that I will relish. I have established myself in the decathlon as the one to beat, and I’m looking to continue this throughout the course of the outdoor season in the individual events.

“My aim is to go quicker still at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix; I want to keep pushing myself to the limit to see how far inside 49 seconds I can go. I know from Oslo that I can contend with a world-class field, but I’m expecting an even bigger test in Glasgow in July.”

Integrated into the IAAF Diamond League meet will be a series of para-events, which will star the likes of London 2012 gold medallists David Weir (Jenny Archer), Jonnie Peacock (Steve Fudge) and Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks), as well as Paralympic silver medallists Libby Clegg (Keith Antoine), Stef Reid (Reider) and the USA’s Richard Browne.

Rudisha, Fraser-Pryce, Jeter and Eaton will be joined at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix by a whole host of current and former Olympic gold medallists including Felix Sanchez, Anna Chicherova, Blanka Vlasic, Jenn Suhr, Dayron Robles, Amantle Montsho, Aries Merritt, Tomasz Majewski, Sandra Perkovic, Andreas Thorkildsen, Keshorn Walcott, Christian Taylor and Sally Pearson in one of the greatest fields ever assembled in the UK.

To send email correction or further classifications, please shoot us an email at lcummings [at] world-track.org.
Devon Allen on the Way to Victory in the Hurdles at the 2014 USATF Championships: PHOTO by Shannon Digital Imaging

Oregon Freshman Hurdler Devon Allen Wins USATF’s Athlete of the Week

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INDIANAPOLIS — University of Oregon freshman hurdler Devon Allen wins USATF’s Athlete of the Week after capturing the 110 meter hurdles title in a stunning upset at the US Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, California, on Sunday, June 29.

Battling temperatures reaching into the 90’s and getting up to 120 degrees on the track at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State, Allen (Phoenix, Arizona) finished with a wind-aided 13.16 (13.155) to hold off a stacked field that included defending US champion Ryan Wilson (13.160) and defending world champion David Oliver (13.23).

“I knew I was going to run fast in this league,” Allen said. “I am pretty excited about it. I did not know I finished first when I crossed the finish line, until they announced it.

“Things started clicking in practice, feeling better, and going through things and running faster.”

Allen also won the NCAA Outdoor Championship in the men’s 100mH in June, also running a 13.16. The wide receiver for the Ducks football team is the first person since Renaldo Nehemiah in 1979 to win both the NCAA and USA championships.

Other top performers from the week include:

Inika McPherson (Port Arthur, Texas), swept the 2014 U.S. high jump titles with her mark of 2.00m/6-6.75. She also won the USATF Indoor crown (1.91m/6-3.25) earlier this year and set a new personal best and stadium record. She now holds the world best for a woman to jump over her head as she cleared 37 cm above her height (5’4”).

Everett Capelle (Laguna Beach, California), broke the 7-8 boy’s 1500-meter national record (5:11.00) with his time of 5:09.44 at the USATF Youth Outdoor Championships.

Lena Giger (Highland, Illinois), won the 17-18 women’s hammer throw at Bloomington with a throw of 55.80m/183-01, defeating her next closest opponent by an almost unimaginable 30 feet, breaking the 2012 mark of 54.30m/178-1.75.

Francena McCorory (Hampton, Virginia), ran a world-leading and lifetime-best 49.48 to win the 400 meter over American record-holder and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross. That mark makes her the fifth-fastest woman in U.S. history.

Now in its 13th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2014 Winners: January 15, Chris Derrick; January 22, Galen Rupp; January 29, Galen Rupp; February 5, Alexa Efraimson; February 12, Mike Rutt; Feb. 19, Bernard Lagat; Feb. 26,Sharon Day-Monroe; March 3, David Torrence; March 13, Francena McCorory; March 19, Irene Obera; March 26, Duane Solomon; April 2, Maria Michta; April 7, Noah Lyles; April 14, Kendell Williams; April 21, Meb Keflezighi; April 28, Kristi Castlin; May 7, Maria Michta; May 14, Erik Kynard; May 21, Emma Coburn; May 28, Brenda Martinez; June 2, Galen Rupp; June 9, Tori Bowie; June 16, Trayvon Bromell; June 23, Charles Austin; June 30, Devon Allen.

To send email correction or further classifications, please shoot us an email at lcummings [at] world-track.org.