Swimmer McKeon makes history, Kiplimo dances to 10,000m victory

Unstoppable: Australia’s Emma McKeon diving into the pool in the women’s 100m freestyle final at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre. — AFP

AUSTRALIAN swim star Emma McKeon made Commonwealth Games history by winning her 19th medal as Jacob Kiplimo raced to victory in the 10,000m on the first day of track and field.

McKeon pulled one ahead of shooters Michael Gault and Phil Adams and fellow swim star Chad le Clos, who has endured a nightmare Games in Birmingham.

The 30-year-old South African had looked set to take the record himself when he came to Birmingham but so far he has just a silver medal to show for his efforts.

On another dramatic night of action in the pool, Adam Peaty showed the mentality that has brought him three Olympics titles.

The 27-year-old Englishman admitted to being at the “bottom of the bottom” after his shock defeat in the 100m but bounced back on Tuesday to take gold in the 50m.

“I had two options this morning – I either fight or don’t fight,” he told the BBC. “Everyone who knows me, knows I fight.”

Prince William, his wife Kate and their seven-year-old daughter Charlotte attended the morning session of the swimming events.

The evening again belonged to dominant Australia, who have now won 22 golds at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre out of a total of 43 on offer.

Uganda’s Kiplimo made light of the absence of two-time world 10,000m champion Joseph Cheptegei by destroying his compatriot’s Commonwealth Games record at the Alexander Stadium.

Kiplimo, who took bronze at the recent World Championships, celebrated with a dance on crossing the line after finishing in 27:09.19, ahead of Kenyan pair Daniel Ebenyo and Kibiwott Kandie.

“I think for me for winning this Commonwealth Games title was everything, the most important thing for me this season,” said the 21-year-old Olympic bronze medallist.

“But I still have a lot of things to do in the future at the Olympics and World Championships.”

There were golds, too, for Australia’s Nina Kennedy, who built on her bronze in the World Championships to take the pole vault title with a best of 4.60m, and Chioma Onyekwere of Nigeria in the discus (61.70m).

England’s Jake Jarman claimed a fourth gold medal on the final day of gymnastics while compatriot Joe Fraser grabbed his third with victory in the parallel bars.

“I’m going to find somewhere in my house to store them (the medals) – maybe a glass cabinet or something like that, if there’s space,” said the 20-year-old Jarman.

On another stellar day for the home nation, Alice Kinsella won the women’s floor while Australia’s Kate McDonald won gold in the women’s balance beam.

Cypriot Ilias Georgiou won the men’s horizontal bar.

England finished with 10 gold medals out of a total of 14 in the artistic gymnastics.

In the more genteel world of lawn bowls, India triumphed in the women’s fours final, beating 2018 silver medallists South Africa 17-10, while Wales beat England in the men’s pairs final.

“We woke up with the mindset that this is a new day, a new beginning, and that we have the opportunity to do something very special,” said India’s Rupa Rani Tirkey.

“We are glad we’ve been able to achieve that.”

Samoan weightlifter Don Opeloge won 96kg gold after his dreams of competing in the Tokyo Olympics were dashed by Covid-19 travel restrictions.

On Tuesday, he performed a celebratory dance and hopes there will be more to come from his compatriots.

“We are called the ‘Dream Team’ in Samoa and we will win more medals. Tomorrow I will be dancing and singing with them,” said Opeloge.

The first-ever Commonwealth 3x3 basketball competition came to an end with England beating Australia in the men’s final while Canada beat the host nation in the women’s gold-medal match. — AFP

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