Katarina Johnson-Thompson wins heptathlon gold while Eilish McColgan takes thrilling 10,000m title


You don’t need brummie glam rock icon Slade to feel the roar at Alexander Stadium.

Another crowd – note Seb Coe and World Athletics – rose as one to roar Eilish McColgan and Katarina Johnson-Thompson to Commonwealth Games gold in 29 raucous and rocking minutes.

Johnson-Thompson’s personal best of 6981 points, set when she won the world heptathlon title in 2019, meant this would always be her gold to lose.

But in a career that has seen ups and downs in equal measure, the 29-year-old has long since learned not to take anything for granted and is dedicating her victory to Grandma Mary Johnson, who passed away last week.

Her victory point tally here – 6377 compared to the 6222 that saw her finish eighth at the World Championships – shows encouraging signs after two difficult injury-ridden years.

It was always a challenge to complete two heptathlons in 16 days, but Johnson-Thompson still set a personal best and let out a scream after unleashing a 44.33m throw in the javelin.

“I’m so happy to come through healthy,” Johnson-Thompson said.

“Hopefully this will be a stepping stone for me like 2018 and we hope for better things next year. I’m happy with the points, but that’s not the point,

Johnson-Thompson set a lifetime best in the javelin throw when she drove to gold

(AFP via Getty Images)

“The 2018 Commonwealth Games was my first outdoor global medal so now it’s all about getting into that positive mentality and being competitive. Everything bodes well and I can start again next year.”

Just before that, McColgan had produced one of the defining performances of those games with a brilliant 10,000m gold, perfectly judging her tactics to overtake Kenya’s Irine Cheptai as 30,000 roared her to victory.

It’s been 11,296 days since mother Liz, a two-time Commonwealth champion, won her legendary world title in Tokyo and she was the first to greet her daughter, cloaked in satire, disbelief on her face.

“It’s been a year of ups and downs,” McColgan said. “I couldn’t have asked for more. Having my family here, the crowd on the last 200n, I can’t explain it, it vibrated through my whole body. I’ve never sprinted like this in my life. It’s just an absolute dream.

“Her family knows the ups and downs and how difficult this journey is. This is my fourth attempt and I’ve finished sixth every time. I was ready to win a medal but in the last 200m you could see I wanted gold. I can’t put it into words, it’s just crazy.”

Parents always want better for their kids and McColgan admitted she had a hard time watching Eilish as she started the race from the front and slammed her rivals, a chip off the old block.

Eilish McColgan won emotional gold in front of her mother, Liz McColgan

(Getty Images)

“The audience was incredible, but for me as a mother, not even as a coach, to see your daughter win the same event that I won is incredible,” she said. “She just ran the race I always knew she could run.

“It took a long time and she put it together tonight. I know the hard work she puts in, there are people here who don’t normally get to watch her run and it all comes together.”

Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala won the men’s 100m while England’s Daryll Neita, who ran best in the semifinals with 10.90 seconds, won bronze in the women’s 100m, which was won by Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica .

“It’s fantastic to compete against the fastest women of all time,” said Neita. “It’s an honor and the fact that I’m getting closer and these ladies are so encouraging, it’s a great atmosphere to be a part of. It’s like a private club for members.

“It’s great to get a Commonwealth medal and I ran a PB in the semifinals so I’m in fantastic shape. I just have to do better in these finals.”

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Fry Electronics Team

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