England gold rush as they draw level with Australia at the top of the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games


An inspirational performance from Zak Seddon won an exciting 2000m steeplechase and kick-started a gold rush for England which saw them pick up seven medals, including five golds, on the second day of athletics action at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man.  Their twelve gold medal haul moved them level on 19 with Australia at the top of the overall table.

England’s second Athletics gold medal of the day went to Sophie McKinna, coached by Olympian Geoff Capes, who went one better than her silver in the IAAF World Youth Championships to win gold in the shot with a fourth round effort of 14.75m.

Minutes after Sophie’s victory came one of the most highly anticipated races of the day – the boys’ 400m final which featured pre-race favourite Clovis Asong and his closest rival, Kenya’s Youth Olympic Champion from 2010 Alphas Leken Kishoyian.

Asong was able to get the better of the Kenyan in the second half of the race and come away with England’s third gold in the space of 15 minutes with a time of 47.76, with George winning a surprise bronze in 48.99 after coming into the final ranked just sixth fastest, making him one of the most popular medal winners of the day.

Clovis said: “It feels good because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wouldn’t get to do this again so it feels pretty good. I just wanted to stay as close as I could to the Kenyan so I could power through the last 200m, and it kind of worked.”

In the Men’s 110m hurdles South African Andries Christo Van de Merwe went to the top of the IAAF World Youth rankings for 2011 with 13.39 to win gold and his compatriot Gerhard de Beer won the Mens discus with a throw of 67.44

Kenya dominated the boys’ 1500m race, which was won by Jonathan Kiplimo Sawe in 3:48.38 from compatriot Vincent Kiprotich Mutai. Kenyan runners Timothy Kitum and World Youth champion Leonard Kirwa Kosencha – with personal bests of 1:44.98 and 1:44.08 respectively – will be the clear favourites in today’s 800m event.

In the Women’s events, Halima took Uganda’s Gold first medal of the Games in the 400m in a time of 56.13. England’s fourth gold on the track came in the girls’ 100m hurdles as Yasmin Miller led from gun to tape to clinch the victory in a windy, but fast, 13.30.

Jazmin Sawyers was the clear favourite going into the long jump final and she didn’t disappoint, responding with her furthest ever jump of 6.27m, albeit slightly windy, in the second round and consistent efforts thereafter to win England’s fifth gold of the day while Cyprus won their first gold of the Games in the high jump with a 1.79m jump by Leontia Kallenou.

The Rugby Sevens also got underway in the newly refurbished ‘Bowl’ stadium on a state of the art Astroturf pitch. The eight participating teams, split into two groups, were playing to determine the order of Sunday’s knock out rounds.

Hosts Isle of Man got the tournament underway, playing 2014 Commonwealth Games hosts Scotland and although the Scottish team scored 43 points the Isle of Man had the consolation of scoring a try towards the end of the match.  Australia emerged triumphant from the group that also featured Canada, who were beaten by Scotland who finished runners up.

In Group B, the key clash saw England edge out South Africa 7-5 in a narrow match with South Africa finishing runners up. Sri Lanka won the third place game against Trinidad and Tobago 17-5, with the Caribbean outfit at least having the consolation of scoring their first try.

Today’s Quarter-final draw, based on the final group positions, sees Australia open up with a game against Trinidad and Tobago, the Isle of Man will play England, Scotland take on Sri Lanka and Canada will face South Africa.

In the road cycling event, which started on the same start-line as the famous Motorbike TT Races, England and Australia shared the honours.  England’s Lucy Garner won the Individual race with England also winning the team event. Hannah Barnes, who won Friday’s Time Trial, added a bronze medal to her three golds. Australia dominated the Men’s road cycling with Caleb Ewan taking the individual title and the Australian four-man outfit taking the team Gold.

In the Gym, British competitors won both events with England’s Dominick Cunningham taking the Men’s All Round Event from his teammate Jay Thompson with Harry Owen (Wales) taking Bronze. There was better news for Wales in the Women’s event with Angel Romao winning the women’s title from Brittany Robertson (New Zealand) and her compatriot Abi Craig taking bronze.

The Boxing reaches a conclusion today with eight finals with England and Australia both well represented.  Jackson Woods (Australia) takes on Samson Sykes (England) at Flyweight and there is also an Australia/England clash at Light Welterweight between Daren Tetley (England) and Daniel Lewis.  In the other bouts Keiran Smith (Scotland) fight’s Damon Jones at Welterweight and Grant Quigley (Scotland) takes on Dylan Hardy (Australia) at Middleweight.

Australia are also represented in the Light Heavyweight final with Brandon Allon against Calum Evans from Wales while India’s sole representative in the finals Rahul Poonia goes up against Jack Bateson from England in the Light Flyweight final. England are also represented in the Bantamweight with Qais Ashfaq competing against Jessy Brown for the Gold Medal and at Lightweight with Henry Thomas against Scotland’s Charlie Flynn.

It is also finals day in the Badminton with pre-tournament favourites Malaysia featuring in all five of the finals. In the Singles finals Zulkiffi will face India’s Verma in the Mens event with India’s Sindu facing Cheah in the women’s. It’s also an Indian/Malaysian final in the Mixed Doubles with Chow and Teo facing India’s Kidambi and Kukkapalli while in the Mens doubles Heg and Teo will face England’s McCarthy and Wolfenden. Malaysia is already guaranteed at least one Gold with both of their pairs in the women’s doubles winning through to today’s final, where Chow and Lee will face Cheah and Yang.

In the Men’s Swimming, the Isle of Man’s Grant Halsall was pipped to a historic first gold for the country by New Zealand’s Corey Main in the Men’s 50m backstroke with Australian Robert Gerlach in third.

Australia dominated the rest of the pool action with Gold medals for their Men’s 4x100 team and from Te Haumi Maxwell in the Mens 100m Freestyle, Jarrod Poort in the 1500m freestyle, Chris Raven (Men’s 100m Butterfly) Ami Matsuo (Women’s 50m freestyle), the 4x 200 Women’s Freestyle Relay and Remy Fairweather in the individual 400m freestyle. There were also Gold medals for Craig Benson (200m Breastroke), Northern Ireland’s Sycerika McMahon (Women’s 50m Breastroke) and England’s Phoebe Lenderyou (Women’s 100m Backstroke), Elena Sheridan (200m Butterfly) and Sophie Smith (Women’s 200m Individual Medley).

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