GLASGOW (AFP) - Sprint superstar Usain Bolt anchored the Jamaican team to victory in the men’s 4x100m relay on Saturday as England topped the Commonwealth Games medals table for the first time in 28 years.
In a fitting end to the track and field programme at Hampden Park, Jason Livermore, 100m gold medallist Kemar Bailey-Cole and bronze medallist Nickel Ashmeade all safely negotiated their legs before the baton was passed on to the towering figure of Bolt.
The 27-year-old, who has won six Olympic gold medals and eight world titles but was making his Commonwealth Games debut, made no mistake with his anchor run in light drizzle on a soaked track, charging through the line in a Games record of 37.58 seconds.
In the women’s 4x100m relay, Jamaica were also triumphant courtesy of Kerron Stewart, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Schillonie Calvert and double Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Kenya’s middle- and long-distance team continued their amazing form.
Mercy Cherono and Janet Kisa won gold and silver in the women’s 5,000m, the bronze going to England’s 40-year-old Jo Pavey. It meant the Kenyan women won 13 of the 18 medals on offer. Cherono and Kisa’s double feat was then replicated in the men’s 1500m by James Magut and Ronald Kwemoi.
Magut’s gold was the men’s third after those in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase. Kenyan Julius Yego then claimed victory in the men’s javelin. With just one day left at the Games, England are top of the medals table with 165 of which 56 are gold while Australia have 132 in total with 45 in gold.
Only 11 golds are left to be decided on Sunday leaving England to nudge Australia off the top of the medals table for the first time since the 1986 Games in Edinburgh.
The Games, however, were rocked Saturday when it was announced that former women’s world 400m champion Amantle Montsho had failed a drugs test.
The Botswanan, who won the world title in 2011, tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine after the final of the 400 metres.
On Friday, Nigerian teenage weightlifter Chika Amalaha was stripped of her Commonwealth women’s 53kg gold medal after also failing a drugs test. England’s boxing team brought home a glut of five golds from 13 finals thanks to Nicola Adams, Joseph Joyce, Savannah Marshall, Scott Fitzgerald and team captain Antony Fowler.
Olympic champion Adams started the gold rush after winning by the narrowest of margins in the women’s flyweight final, beating Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh to become the first women’s Commonwealth boxing champion.
- Aussies win hockey thriller -
Australia won their fourth successive women’s hockey gold medal with a 3-1 shoot-out win over England.
But the English came agonisingly close to a shock win when they led 1-0 with just seconds left of normal time.
England’s Tom Daley won a second successive 10m platform Games diving gold with Australia’s Esther Qin taking the women’s 3m springboard title. England were dealt a double blow in team events with defeats in the semi-finals of netball and men’s hockey.
The netballers went down 35-34 to New Zealand with Marai Tutaia sinking the winner in the final two seconds as the defending champion Silver Fearns booked a Sunday final against top-ranked Australia, who defeated Jamaica.
Australia comfortably saw off England 4-1 in the men’s hockey semis and will face India, who came back from 0-2 down to defeat New Zealand 3-2, for their fifth consecutive gold. Joshana Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal ensured India’s maiden Commonwealth Games squash medal was a gold as they shocked top seeds Laura Massaro and Jenny Duncalf of England with an 11-6, 11-8 win in the women’s doubles final.
“We are really excited, not only for us but for Indian squash in general,” said Pallikal, who missed her home Games in Delhi four years ago due to illness.
Singapore finished the Games with six table tennis golds out of a possible seven after Zhan Jian won the men’s singles and Feng Tianwei secured her third gold of the Games with Yu Mengyu in the women’s doubles.