Surprises highlight big night at Commonwealth Games track
GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — It was a night of surprises Thursday on the track at the Commonwealth Games.
An expected close duel between Olympic champions was lopsided, with Shaunae Miller-Uibo winning the women’s 200 meters final in a games record time and Elaine Thompson missing out on a medal.
And Zharnel Hughes initially was awarded the win in a photo finish with Jareem Richardson in the men’s 200 final but was later disqualified. Richardson, who was in the adjacent lane and appeared to be impeded by Hughes’ left arm only meters from the finish, was subsequently declared the winner in 20.12 seconds.
Watching it all was eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt, now retired but in the stadium to present the medals to the women’s champion. Many expected him to be draping the gold medal over the neck of fellow Jamaican Thompson, who had matched his feat at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 by winning the 100-200 double.
Instead it was Miller-Uibo, who won the 400 in Rio, who won in 22.09, lowering the mark set by another Bahamas sprinter, Debbie Ferguson, in 2002.
Elsewhere around the Commonwealth Games:
NO FUTURE BOLT
The newly-retired Bolt left no doubt about his future, which doesn’t include a return to elite sprinting.
Asked at a news conference at the Commonwealth Games if it’s possible the world might see him at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, — “am I right, or am I wrong?,” a journalist asked — Bolt replied: “Very wrong.”
Also asked if he felt that his 100-meter world record of 9.58 seconds would be broken, he said: “I just hope it doesn’t happen anytime soon.”
Bolt, on a promotional visit to the Gold Coast, also said he was serious about playing professional soccer. In March, Bolt worked out with German soccer club Borussia Dortmund as part of his training regimen for a charity match at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester on June 10.
The 31-year-old Jamaican was also asked if he ever reflects on his career.
“I am from the rural area of Jamaica, from the country,” Bolt said. ” I used to play football in the streets with anything I could find, bottles, anything I could get my hands on. At no point in time did I think I would be at this level. It is amazing to sit back now. I get messages all the time, not just from track athletes, from random people in life saying you have inspired me to do well.”
Bolt was photographed later Thursday at the track and field events with Australian actor Chris Hemsworth.
SHARING GOLD ON THE BEACH
Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann beat a Canadian pair to win the first beach volleyball gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. McHugh and Schumann beat Samuel Pedlow and Sam Schachter 21-19, 18-21, 18-16.
“I can’t believe that just happened after being behind 9-12 (in the third set),” Schumann said. “We thought we’d just ride it out and see what happened.”
Canada got one back when its women’s team beat Australia in straight sets. The world No. 1-ranked pair of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Human-Paredes defeated Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar for the gold.
LAST IS FIRST
Annie Last won gold in women’s mountain biking, finishing 48 seconds ahead of England teammate Evie Richards on the hinterland Nerang State Forest course. Last finished the demanding 27.6-kilometer course in 1 hour, 18.02 seconds, with Richards taking silver in 1:18.50. Hayley Smith won the bronze in 1:20.26, just ahead of another Canadian, Emily Batty.
New Zealand riders dominated the 32.2-kilomteter men’s event, with Samuel Gaze edging teammate Anton Cooper for gold. Both finished in 1:17.36 Alan Hatherly was 20 seconds behind for bronze.
SIXTH GOLD FOR CYPRUS
Diamanto Evripidou has given Cyprus its sixth gold medal of the games, winning the individual all-around title in rhythmic gymnastics. Katherine Uchida of Canada took silver and Kwan Dict Weng of Malaysia the bronze. Earlier, Marios Georgiou won two golds for Cyprus in artistic gymnastics, winning the men’s floor exercise and parallel bars.
Anti-doping officials conducted more than 3,000 tests ahead of the Commonwealth Games in an effort to weed out athletes who might be cheating well ahead of their competitions.
David Sharpe, chief executive of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, said 2,600 tests were conducted on Australian athletes and 500 more on international athletes, some of whom were only at the qualifying stage for the April 4-15 games on the Gold Coast.
The testing led to pre-games sanctions for some athletes, including three Australians.
Dr. Mani Jegathesan of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s medical commission said doping samples from athletes at the Gold Coast Games would be stored for 10 years in order to be available for later retesting. Jegathesan said anti-doping authorities took into account the “risk element” and used intelligence reports so that “every test counts.”
Officials would not say how many tests were being conducted during the games.