GLASGOW - Jamaica’s world silver medallist Warren Weir cruised into the Commonwealth Games 200m final on Thursday as Alex Dowsett and Linda Villumsen proved king and queen of the road with cycling time trial gold.
In the absence of double world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt, Weir, who won bronze behind Bolt and Yohan Blake at the 2012 London Olympics, timed 20.48sec to qualify easily for the final. As the only man in the field who has broken 20 seconds in the distance, Weir is the overwhelming favourite. Nigerian Blessing Okagbare kept her bid for a Commonwealth sprint double on course as she advanced to the final of the women’s 200m. The 25-year-old scorched to a commanding victory in the women’s 100m at Hampden Park on Monday, timing a Games record of 10.85 seconds and clocked 22.43sec in winning her 200m semi-final on Thursday.
The focus later in the evening will also be on Olympic champions David Rudisha and Sally Pearson. Kenya’s Rudisha, who set a blistering world record when winning Olympic gold in London in 2012, will go in the 800m final against arch-rival Nijel Amos of Botswana. Pearson will be hoping to put the controversy over suspended head coach Eric Hollingsworth behind her when she takes to the track for heats in the 100m hurdles. In field hockey England’s men moved through to a semi-final clash with champions Australia after a routine 3-1 win over Canada. The Australians were too good for Scotland winning 5-0
New Zealand ensured they finish top of Group B by defeating Malaysia 6-1 and will play India who beat South Africa 5-2. Dowsett, second to David Millar four years ago in the men’s road cycling time trial, claimed Commonwealth gold for England in a closely-contested race through the streets and suburbs of Glasgow. He timed 47 minutes 41.78 with Australian rider Rohan Dennis crossing the line nine seconds slower to take silver and Geraint Thomas grabbing third to claim the bronze for Wales. Millar, in his final season, was eighth.
It was England’s first gold medal in road cycling in 28 years and the winner said that being dumped by his team for the Tour de France was extra motivation. “Not being selected for the Tour was a massive disappointment for me,” Dowsett said. Villumsen, also a silver medallist in New Delhi, produced a storming finish to clock 42 minutes 25.46 seconds and pip England’s Emma Pooley. Pooley, who is to retire after the Games, had to settle for silver while Australia’s Katrin Garfoot took the bronze. In all 25 golds were up for grabs on Thursday. Canada moved up into third place in the medals table with two golds in wrestling courtesy of Danielle Lappage in the women’s -63kg division and Tamerlan Tagziev in men’s -86kg.
George Kobaladze won the final weightlifting gold for Canada by taking the +105kg title with a new Games record combined weight of 400kg in the snatch and the clean and jerk. “This was one of the most important lifts in my career. It is my first win in an international competition and, at 38, I feel like I’ve used my last chance,” said Kobaladze. In gymnastics, England won three of the five golds on offer through Max Whitlock in the men’s floor event, Claudia Fragapane in women’s vault — her third title of the Games — and Rebecca Downie on the uneven bars. At just 22, Downie still ranks as the oldest gold medallist in the event. India took two wrestling golds thanks to Babita Kumari in the women’s -55kg and Yogeshwar Dutt in the men’s -65kg.
India’s Pawan Kumar outmuscled his Pakistan counterpart M Inam in the men’s 86 kg freestyle wrestling to clinch bronze at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday. The two wrestlers were tied at 6-6 but Pawan was adjudged the winner since he scored the last point.