BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, , Aug 4 – Jamaican sprint star Elaine Thompson-Herah eased the pain of a disappointing world championships by sprinting to 100m victory at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday as Katarina Johnson-Thompson ended her heptathlon drought.
Scotland’s Eilish McColgan also put past frustrations behind her on an emotional night in Birmingham.
Thompson-Herah finished third behind fellow Jamaican sprint stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson at last month’s world championships in Eugene, Oregon.
It was a disappointing performance for the 30-year-old, who topped the podium at last year’s Tokyo Olympics in both the 100m and 200m, retaining the titles she had won in Rio.
But she began her first step in her “battle back to the top” by winning the Commonwealth 100m title for the first time in 10.95 seconds.
Thompson-Herah would not have been running but for the withdrawal of Fraser-Pryce.
“Feeling good,” said Thompson-Herah. “I didn’t have the best execution but nevertheless I had to dig for that one but I am still grateful to win my first Commonwealth Games.
“I started in 2014 in the 4x100m. Then in 2018 in the 200m I came fourth and now I upgraded to a gold.”
– Johnson-Thompson tears –
Johnson-Thompson choked back tears as she ended a three-year period without a title by retaining her Commonwealth crown.
The 29-year-old has seen little go right since she won the 2019 world title — rupturing her Achilles tendon in 2020 and tearing her calf muscle at the Olympics.
She dug deep to produce impressive performances in the final two events to post a total of 6,377 points.
Termed “Droopy” by her coach for her hangdog body language, she did a jig of joy after her javelin throw.
“It has been a tough couple of years so hopefully this can kickstart another part of my career,” she said.
“It has been hard. I had moments where I didn’t know if I wanted to carry on but to come out here and get the gold and prove to myself that pushing through was worth it I am so happy.”
McColgan wept as she at last unlocked the secret of how to get the better of the Kenyans and emulated her mother Liz (1986 and 1990) in winning the women’s 10,000m title.
McColgan produced an outstanding performance, posting a new Games record of 30min 48.60sec, buoyed by the roars of the crowd on the final lap.
Having raised her arms to the skies, fallen onto the track in celebration and picked herself up, she draped herself in the Scottish flag and went over to her mother where they shared an emotional embrace.
It was Scotland’s first track title since Yvonne Murray won the same event in 1994.
“It’s just been such an up and down year with Covid, another illness and a couple of other niggles,” said McColgan.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more to have my family here, it was vibrating through my body.”
Her mother beamed with pride.
“To witness your daughter win in the same event is incredible,” said the 58-year-old.
Ferdinand Omanyala became the first Kenyan to win the Commonwealth Games men’s 100 metres title, in 10.02sec.
Omanyala never looked in trouble and did not stop to hug any of his rivals, with his momentum and joy at winning carrying him round the track.
“I am over the moon, I thrive on the hype of this sort of event,” he said.
Victory also vindicated his decision to switch from rugby to the track.
“I was very fast in rugby and I think I am even faster on the track!”
New Zealand’s Hamish Kerr won the men’s high jump (2.25 metres), with defending champion Brandon Starc having to make do with silver.
Defending champion Danniel Thomas-Dodd saw the gold snatched from her grasp in the final round of the shot, with Sarah Mitton of Canada throwing 19.03 to take the title.