Two Commonwealth Games Champions, one bronze medalist, and two national Champions – the past week has seen a blistering set of performances from Altis athletes.
India’s Vikas Gowda started the Altis medal rush by winning India its first title of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Scotland. The 31-year-old converted the silver he had won four years ago in Delhi in the Discus to gold – with a throw of 63.64 meters on a wet evening in Glasgow. With the achievement, Gowda became only India’s second male athlete to win at the Commonwealth Games in Track & Field after Milkha Singh won the 440 yards in the 1958 Games in Cardiff.
“The achievement will take sometime to sink in,” said Gowda when told the gold came 56 years after Milkha’s effort. “It is incredible that we have not won a gold in athletics for so long. I am humbled,” he said.
Competing on the same evening Canada’s Christabel Nettey bagged the bronze in what was only her second major championship outing. Nettey, of Surrey, B.C, took an early lead in the competition with a 6.49m jump on her second of six attempts. However, following a final round effort from England’s Jazmin Sawyer, who jumped 6.54m on her sixth and final try, Nettey instead ended up a tantalizingly close seven centimeters away from the gold in bronze medal position. Ese Brumme of Nigeria won gold with a leap of with a 6.56m leap on her third round attempt.
Reflecting on her performance, Nettey said: “Coming into only my second major Championship and medalling I can only grow from that … I am happy to bring the medal home for Canada. Adjusting to the rain and the wind, medal ceremonies and all that waiting, it was hard but that is just track and field and you adjust. Unfortunately I couldn’t get it done today (for gold) but I am still happy.”
Following the success of his Altis team-mates, on the penultimate day of the Championships Steve Lewis didn’t disappoint – claiming gold following a nail-biting clash with countryman Luke Cutts in an all-English jump-off to secure the win.
Having taken the bronze in 2006 and silver in Delhi four years later, the 28-year-old completed the set on a warm night at Hampden Park, clearing 5.55m to become Commonwealth Champion.
As such, the 2014 British Champion has now won gold, silver and bronze in the Commonwealth Games: “Getting the set of Commonwealth medals was a big goal – 2006 was such a surprise, I got close in Delhi and just to have the set is amazing. It’s testament to the people who didn’t write me off in 2013. This year I’ve settled down, I’ve got a new set-up in Phoenix at Altis and have a base I can build off – 2013 was a really hard year, so I hope I’m back on track and that this is my springboard on the way to Rio. It’s given me confidence.”
Also in Glasgow, Altis guest Sally Peake claimed second place in the Pole Vault as the rain clouds proved to have a silver lining for Wales. 28 year old Peake – coached by Scott Simpson did not let the conditions get to her: “The conditions don’t tend to bother me,” she said “I jump in the UK so I have jumped in rain before”.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Altis guest Pole Vaulter Tobias Scherbarth cleared 5.60m to claim Gold in the German National Championships. At the same event, Altis athlete Matthias Bühler successfully continued his dominance of the 110m hurdles at the German Championships: After running 13.42s in the prelims Matthias came back to secure gold running 13.20s in the finals with a 3.4 m/s tailwind – the fastest ever performance under any conditions at the championships.
Moving forwards, the next Championship stop is Zurich for the Europeans, where both Matthias Bühler and Steve Lewis will be looking to continue to build on their competitive form. Steve will be competing in the qualification round on Thursday 14th, followed by finals on Saturday 16th, with the finals for 110m hurdles also running on August 14th. You can keep up to date on the European Championships here.