Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hazel powers to heptathlon gold

Venue: Delhi, India Dates: 3-14 October 2010 Coverage: Comprehensive live coverage across BBC TV, radio, online, BBC Red Button, mobile and BBC iPlayer services. Find full coverage details here. And a full schedule of events here.

Louise Hazel
Hazel was in superb form over the competition

England's Louise Hazel held her nerve to win heptathlon gold in the Commonwealth Games.

The 25-year-old was second overnight but had personal bests in the long jump and javelin to take the lead and held her advantage in the 800m to triumph.

Canada's highly rated Jessica Zelinka took silver with England also winning bronze through Grace Clements.

England's Greg Rutherford took silver in the men's long jump behind Australia's Fabrice Lapierre.

Rutherford's best jump of 8.22m came in the second round but Lapierre took gold with 8.30, while Chris Tomlinson failed to record a mark after being hampered by a heel injury.

In the absence of world champion Jessica Ennis, Hazel ensured England would still win gold as she produced an assured performance over the two days of competition.

"It's just brilliant - I'm over the moon," she told BBC Sport afterwards.

"I'm so happy. I said I would bring a medal home. There's a lot more work there and a lot more to come out."

Hazel trailed Zalinka and Peaches Roach of Jamaica after four events but jumped a personal best of 6.44m in the long jump to take the lead by 74 points with two events remaining.

The Birchfield Harrier then put in another superb performance in the javelin with a new lifetime best of 44.42 to stretch her lead over Zelinka to 126 points while Clements moved above Roach into bronze.

It meant Hazel held an advantage of about nine seconds over the top-ranked Canadian going into the 800m and although it is one of Zelinka's strongest disciplines, Hazel kept her within her sights to secure gold in a new personal best of 6156 points.

Clements stayed ahead of Roach to ensure her medal, posting a personal best of 5819 points.

"To get a medal is unbelievable," she said. "I was aiming to come here and have fun and I just wanted not to finish last."

After a season affected by injury, which saw him miss the European Championships, Rutherford was delighted to get onto the medal rostrum.

"A lot of people wrote me off because of my injuries," he told BBC Sport.

"It's four years since I won a medal at a major championships and I'm still only 23 so there is a lot more to come.

"I really wanted to win here but this is still a special medal. I've gone through a lot and it all worked for me."

Elsewhere, New Zealand's Valerie Adams added the Commonwealth women's shot title to her World and Olympic crowns with a commanding performance.

Adams, formerly Vili, threw a new Commonwealth mark of 20.47m on her first attempt to finish 1.5m ahead of Trinidad and Tobago's Cleopatra Brown and Samoa's Tasele Satupai.

Kenya's Mark Muttai stormed through late on to win the men's 400m ahead of Australia's Sean Wroe and Ramon Miller of the Bahamas while Muttai's compatriot Milcah Cheywa made it two golds on the night with success in the women's 3,000m steeplechase.

In the men's 200m, veterans Christian Malcolm (Wales) and Marlon Devonish (England) both advanced to the semi-finals, along with Devonish's team-mate Leon Baptiste.

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