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Amos trumps record holder Rudisha in thrilling style Okagbare speeds to sprint double

GLASGOW, Aug 1, (AFP): Botswanan tyro Nijel Amos trumped world record holder David Rudisha in thrilling style over 800m at the Commonwealth Games. In another high-quality track and field session at Hampden Park, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare claimed a women’s sprint double, dominating the 200m after first striking gold in Monday’s 100m. And Rasheed Dwyer led a Jamaican cleansweep of the men’s 200m to emulate teammate Kemar Bailey-Cole’s victory in the 100m, the two sprint golds going some way to make up for the absence of Usain Bolt, who will only compete in the 4x100m relay. Kenya’s Rudisha, who set a blistering world record when winning Olympic gold in London, had finished ahead of silver medallist Amos in the British capital in 2012.

But there was revenge in the wet Glasgow air, Amos producing a sublime, fast-paced finish to outdo his Kenyan nemesis, clocking 1min 45.18, with Rudisha at 0.30sec. Rudisha started in the lane inside Amos and, as usual, made sure he went straight out to the front of the pack when it broke, the Botswanan and Australian Jeffrey Riseley on his coattails. Going through the bell in 52.71sec, the pack remained bunched behind Rudisha. His Kenyan teammate Ferguson Rotich surged, Rudisha stuck with him, Amos lurking on their shoulder.

Rudisha looked set as he rounded the final bend in the lead, but he had not counted on Amos’ finishing kick, the 20-year-old Botswanan pushed out wide by Riseley and flying past him in the final 30 metres, teeth gritted and arms out-stretched. South African Andre Olivier took bronze in 1:46.03. “The race was good but the last 100m was difficult. I didn’t have good preparations,” Rudisha said in reference to a calf injury that only saw him make his track comeback in May. “I am happy to achieve what I have although I would, of course, liked to have won a gold medal. “Amos is a tough competitor. We were racing together in a tactical race but he was better tonight.” Amos was quick to heap praise on Rudisha, saying: “This gentleman will always be the hero of the 800m.
 
“I don’t think I’m the man,” he added modestly. “I will only be the man when I have broken the world record five times. “I’d like next year to come back together (with Rudisha) to break the world record. I don’t care who breaks it, me or Rudisha.” Okagbare kept her bid for a Commonwealth treble on course as she added the 200m crown to her 100m title, the US-based 25-year-old still to run in the 4x100m relay. She timed 22.25sec for gold, beating unrelated English duo Jodie Williams (22.50) and Bianca Williams (22.58) to top the podium. “I am happy I won,” said the Nigerian, who won long jump silver and 200m bronze at last year’s worlds in Moscow. “It wasn’t favourable weather and running two rounds in one day is new for me.
 
“I wanted something faster. I didn’t get the time but I got the win and two golds. It’s amazing.” In the men’s 200m, Dwyer outshone world silver medallist Warren Weir, the only sprinter in Glasgow to have clocked a sub-20sec 200m, timing 20.14sec for victory ahead of Weir (20.26) and Jason Livermore (20.32). South African Cornel Fredericks won the men’s 400m hurdles in 48.50sec, outrunning world champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago (48.75) and Jeffrey Gibson of the Bahamas (48.78). But there was no fairytale in the women’s 400m hurdles for Scotland’s Eilidh Child, who was caught on the final bend by Jamaica’s world 400m silver medallist Kaliese Spencer, who went on to claim gold in 54.10sec.
 
Child held on for silver in 55.02sec, with another Jamaican, Janieve Russell, taking bronze (55.64).
In the field, Vikas Shive Gowda won the discus with 63.64m to end India’s 56-year gold medal drought in men’s athletics at the Commonwealth Games, the last winner being Milkha Singh over 440 yards at the 1958 edition in Cardiff. Apostolos Parellis of Cyprus claimed silver (63.32) while Jason Morgan took bronze (62.34), becoming the first Jamaican to claim a medal in this event since Bernard Prendergast at the London 1934 Commonwealth Games. “No words can describe it. I am so happy this has been on my calendar for the whole year. I got second last time in Delhi, so I definitely wanted to improve on that,” said Gowda. “And now I am so glad it is over, it is a very stressful process.”

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