Commonwealth Games: Dry on high with hammer bronze

Scotland hammer thrower Mark Dry celebrates after registering his best effort of the night at Hampden. Picture: SNS
Scotland hammer thrower Mark Dry celebrates after registering his best effort of the night at Hampden. Picture: SNS
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SCOTLAND’s Mark Dry made it two medals on two successive nights for the home nation when he battled his way to a bronze medal in the hammer. One of three Scots in the event along with Andy Frost and Chris Bennett, the 26-year-old was in contention throughout the competition.

Fourth at the end of the first round with an effort of 69.73m, he improved to third with a second-round throw of 71.64. He was still in the bronze-medal position at the end of the third round, at which point Bennett and Frost were both eliminated after failing to get into the top eight out of the 12 original finalists. Frost was ninth with a best attempt of 66.63m, and Bennett was 12th with 61.92.

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In a close contest, Alex Smith of England pushed Dry all the way in the fight for the last medal, but in the end that throw of 71.64 was enough to keep the Scot in third. Gold went to Jim Steacy of Canada, whose throw of 74.16 made him a clear-cut winner. Nicholas Miller of England took second with 72.99.

Dry’s bronze follows the gold medal won by Libby Clegg on Monday night, and means that Scotland’s track-and-field team have now equalled their medal tally from each of the three previous Games. With Eilidh Child through to her 400m hurdles final and Lynsey Sharp beginning her 800m campaign today, the chances of bettering that total look good.

There was a Kenyan 1-2-3 in the final of the women’s 10,000m, which had not one but two dramatic finishes. First, Joyce Chepkirui nipped ahead of compatriot Florence Kiplagat metres from the lone, and Kiplagat staggered and fell in the act of crossing the finish line. Then Beth Potter was involved in a similar duel for fourth with Kate Avery of England, and this time it was the Scot whose lead was stolen from her just a few strides from the line. Realising too late that Avery had found some extra speed after appearing to be beaten into fifth, Potter made a desperate lunge for the line only to fall over. Even so, she still recorded a personal best of 32 mins 33.36sec, with Avery also setting a PB, one-hundredth of a second quicker.

Indeed, four out of the first five – the other being Emily Chebet – ran faster than they had ever done before, the exception being Kiplagat. Such an outcome seemed improbable at one point, as the Kenyan contingent, after setting out strongly, allowed the bulk of the field to catch up with them.

Gaining in confidence, Potter took the lead ten laps from home, by which time the number of medal contenders had been reduced to seven. Four laps later and there were only six, Potter among them. But then the three Kenyans reasserted their dominance, quickly opening up a small but decisive gap. Potter did her best to stay close, and her bravery saw her stretch her lead over Avery to ten or 15 metres at one stage, only to be overhauled at the death.

“I didn’t realise how fast Kate was finishing,” the Glaswegian said. “I know there was only a millisecond in it, but Kate and I have been racing each other since we were 15 and it has always been very close – one of us will win one race and the other will win the next.

“That was amazing, one of the best races I’ve ever run – the best race I’ve ever run. The crowd really helped me and I didn’t even know who was behind me. I couldn’t hear anyone as the crowd were so loud. They were so good.”

Chepkirui explained she had expected Kiplagat to have something in reserve going into the last half-lap. “I was trying to push her in the last 200 as I know she can run a lot faster,” the new champion said.

“It was so close near the end, but I knew my body was in good shape. I’m so so happy it was Kenya for one, two and three. I thank God for my victory. I’m happy I could win at my first Commonwealth Games.”

There was another clean sweep in the women’s 400m final, this time for Jamaica. Defending champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana was in a strong position coming into the home straight but was overtaken by Novlene Williams-Mills. She was overtaken in turn by a devastating late burst from compatriot Stephanie McPherson, while the third Jamaican, Christine Day, got the better of Montsho on the line.

England’s William Sharman took silver in the 110m hurdles, losing out to Andrew Riley in a dip for the line. The Jamaican clocked 13.32, four-hundredths of a second ahead of Sharman. Shane Brathwaite of Jamaica took third in 13.49.

There was another silver medal for England in the decathlon, won by Ashley Bryant with a total of 8109 points. Damian Warner of Canada won the title with 8282 points, and Kurt Felix of Grenada took bronze on 8070. That third place for Felix was only the second medal his country has ever won at the Games, following the silver won by Alleyne Francique in the 400m eight years ago in Melbourne.


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