England’s Jodie Stimpson won the opening gold of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow yesterday, when the multi-sport event was hit by the withdrawal of athletics legend Mo Farah.
Stimpson, a silver medalist in last year’s ITU World Triathlon Series, sprinted clear with 400m remaining in the final 10km run to win a thrilling race that started with a 1.5km swim in and a 40km cycle around Strathclyde Loch.
Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland claimed silver, with England’s Vicky Holland taking bronze in warm, sunny conditions.
Action also got underway in the pool, where top home hope for a gold medal Michael Jamieson was upstaged by countryman Ross Murdoch in qualifying for the 200m breaststroke final.
Murdoch smashed the Commonwealth record by more than 2 seconds in a time of 2 minutes, 08.78 seconds, with Jamieson and Calum Tait completing an all-Scottish top-three in qualifying.
“Watching the crowd go wild and I just wanted that for myself and we did it, so it is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” the 20-year-old Murdoch said.
Scotland’s Hannah Miley also had the home crowd in raptures in the first heat of the event by breaking her own Commonwealth record in the women’s 400m individual medley in a time of 4 minutes, 38.27 seconds.
Commonwealth Games record times were tumbling all morning at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre as Jamaica’s Ali Atkinson went fastest in the women’s 50m breaststroke in a Games record time of 30.49 seconds.
The immediacy of the action took some of the sting out of Farah’s withdrawal, which rocked the Games just as they got underway.
Alongside Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt, Farah is one of the most recognizable faces of track and field, and his absence will be sorely missed in Glasgow.
“Certainly there’ll be some disappointed people, but there’s plenty of great athletes that are coming and are here,” Commonwealth Games chief executive David Grevemberg said.
Farah, the 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic and world champion, was recently laid low by illness and has decided to pull out of the tournament to work on his fitness ahead of next month’s European Championships in Zurich, Switzerland.
“I have taken the tough decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games,” Farah, 31, said in a statement released by Team England. “I really wanted to add the Commonwealth titles to my Olympic and World Championships, but the event is coming a few weeks too soon for me as my body is telling me it’s not ready to race yet.”
Farah had been preparing for Glagow in Font Romeu, France, and revealed that he will remain there in the build-up to the European Championships, which begin on Aug. 12.
“The sickness I had two weeks ago was a big setback for me,” he added. “Training is getting better here in Font Romeu, but I need another few weeks to get back to the level I was at in 2012 and 2013.”
It had been widely feared that Bolt would not be fit for Glasgow after missing the Jamaican national championships, but he has made himself available for the relay, although compatriots Yohan Blake (hamstring injury) and Asafa Powell (ban) have been ruled out.
The first para-sport swimming gold of the Games was also on offer in the men’s 100m freestyle S9 event, one of a total of 21 golds to be won yesterday. As well as four in the pool, there are four up for grabs on the first day of track cycling at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
Bradley Wiggins is back on the track for the first time since 2008 and aiming to win his first Commonwealth gold in the 400m team pursuit for England.
Six-time Commonwealth Games medalist Anna Meares was to begin her record-setting quest with the 500m time trial as the Australian bids to become the first competitor to win a track cycling medal at four Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand will be the team to beat in the men’s team sprint event. The Kiwi riders, including Eddie Dawkins and Ethan Mitchell, go into the event as favorites after their triumph in the world championships in Colombia and will want to go one better than the silver they claimed in Dehli in 2010.
The women’s para-sport sprint B tandem event will mark the first time Commonwealth athletes have competed in a para-sport track cycling competition.
Meanwhile, Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan, are betting on an intense sibling rivalry in their drive for a top-of-the-podium finish in the triathlon, while the women’s individual race has several contenders vying for gold.
Indian lifters are expected to be at the forefront on the first day’s action in the weightlifting. There are also five titles to be decided in judo and one in rhythmic gymnastics.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7