BIRMINGHAM: Grenada’s Lindon Victor(pix) narrowly retained his Commonwealth decathlon crown on Friday as New Zealand shot putter Tom Walsh also held onto his title in Birmingham.
In a drama-filled session, 18-year-old Kenyan Jackline Chepkoech added Commonwealth gold in the 3000 metres steeplechase to last year’s under-20 world title.
She won in a Games record of 9min 15.68sec -- her victory was assured when Uganda’s Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai fell badly as she contested the lead.
Although limping badly, she bravely carried on to take bronze but had to be taken off in a wheelchair.
There was no upset in the women’s triple jump.
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts shed her bridesmaid’s tag -- having been silver medallist in the 2018 Games and last month’s world championships -- to post a Games record of 14.94 metres.
The decathlon provided the edge-of-the-seat drama at Alexander Stadium.
Victor held on by the skin of his teeth as Australia’s Daniel Golubovic won the 1500m comfortably, threatening to snatch the title away from him.
The Grenadan fell to the ground as he awaited the final tally and to his relief he had done just enough to deny Golubovic, winning by just 36 points with a total of 8,233.
“Ahead of the 1500m I just thought, ‘Don’t relinquish the lead. Run as hard as you need to win’, and that’s exactly what I did,“ said 29-year-old Victor.
Another Australian, Cedric Dubler, who had led Victor by 39 points coming into the final two events, took the bronze, as he did four years ago.
- ‘Different people’ -
Walsh, the 2017 world champion, won the shot put with a mark of 22.26 metres as New Zealand compatriot Jacko Gill took silver with a personal best of 21.90m.
England’s Scott Lincoln, who is a bricklayer by profession, took a surprise bronze (20.57m).
“I don’t want to lose to him (Gill), that’s for sure,“ said Walsh.
“But having Jacko alongside me (on the podium) will be a pretty special occasion. Jacko and I have been going head-to-head for 12 years now.
“We are different people, and I wouldn’t say we’re mates, but we get on really well still -- just two different characters.”
On Saturday the Games will witness one of the spicier duels in the athletics competition when Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah faces silver medallist Christine Mboma in the women’s 200m.
Thompson-Herah will fancy her chances of completing the sprint double -- as she has done twice at the Olympics -- with Mboma only having returned to training five weeks ago after recovering from a thigh injury.
England’s Victoria Ohuruogu is one win away from emulating her sister, Olympic and two-time world champion Christine, in winning Commonwealth Games 400m gold.
But the 29-year-old faces a major threat from world bronze medallist Sada Williams of Barbados, who cruised through in her semi-final.
The English runner posted the fastest time of 51.00sec, while Williams ran 51.59.
Ohuruogu’s team-mate, Matthew Hudson-Smith, will start as a warm favourite for the men’s 400m, looking comfortable in posting the fastest time of the semi-finals.
Hudson-Smith revealed after winning bronze at the recent world championships that he had tried to commit suicide last year.-AFP