Commonwealth Games: Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Eilish McColgan claim golds

By Mike HensonBBC Sport at Alexander Stadium
2022 Commonwealth Games
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

England's Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Scotland's Eilish McColgan earned hugely popular Commonwealth Games titles on the loudest night yet at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium.

Johnson-Thompson's heptathlon win marks her return to the top of an international podium after three years of injury and coaching changes.

She finished on 6,377 points, 144 clear of Northern Ireland's Kate O'Connor.

McColgan's 10,000m victory marks her first major title at the age of 31.

Her triumph also follows in the footsteps of her mother Liz, who won the same title at Edinburgh 1986 and Auckland 1990.

As the volume rose and the laps counted down, McColgan found herself locked together with Kenya's Irine Cheptai.

Cheptai, who finished sixth ahead of McColgan at last year's Tokyo Olympics, opened up a metre's lead with 250m to go.

But McColgan reeled her in, surged on and, after checking over her shoulder for a response that never came, landed her biggest win yet.

"This is the most incredible moment of my career," McColgan said.

"I couldn't hear myself think or breathe, in that last 100m the crowd carried me.

"It's just been such an up and down year with Covid, another illness and a couple of other niggles. I knew the fitness was somewhere in me but I could not have asked for anything more tonight to have my family here."

Liz McColgan embraced her daughter before paying tribute to her dedication and determination.

"As a mother to witness your daughter win is amazing," she told BBC Sport.

"She just ran the race I always knew she was capable of running. It was amazing to watch and very nerve-wracking but it's been a long time coming and she put it together tonight."

McColgan ran faster than her mum did for either of her Commonwealth Games golds.

Her time of 30 minutes 48.60 seconds is a Games record and adds gold to a season that has already been littered with new landmarks.

McColgan broke the European 10km, British half-marathon and Scottish 10,000m records this year, but an untimely hamstring niggle hindered her chances at last month's World Championships.

Johnson-Thompson returns to the summit

Former world champion Johnson-Thompson said she hoped this win could reinvigorate her career after a run of bad luck and behind-the-scenes disruption, after dedicating gold to her grandmother Mary who died last week.

"It has been tough couple of years so hopefully this can kickstart another part of my career," Johnson-Thompson said.

"It has been hard, I had moments where I didn't know if I wanted to carry on but to come out here and get the gold and prove to myself that pushing through was worth it."

Johnson-Thompson came into the 800m finale with a healthy lead over second-placed O'Connor, but left nothing to chance as she chased hard to the line to finish more than half a second ahead of her 21-year-old rival.

The 800m may have been the coronation, but it was in the javelin that Johnson-Thompson saw off the young pretenders to her throne.

The throwing events are where the 29-year-old is most vulnerable. She had not been within three metres of her personal best of 43.93m since she threw it in 2019.

In Wednesday's penultimate event, O'Connor's opening-round 50.83m, in reply to Johnson-Thompson's initial 36.19m, heaped pressure on the defending champion.

But Johnson-Thompson mustered a final-round 44.33m before clasping her face in her hands in a mix of surprise and delight.

Further than she has ever thrown before, it was a performance few others had seen coming either after her spell of faltering form and fitness.

Johnson-Thompson's England team-mate Jade O'Dowda took bronze with 6,212 points.

Elsewhere Wales' three-time Paralympic champion Aled Sion Davies claimed F42-44/61-64 discus gold, with team-mate Harrison Walsh taking bronze behind Sri Lanka's Palitha Halgahawela Gedara.

Davies' best effort of 51.39m was short of the F42 discus world record of 56.21m he set in July, but was good enough to justify his decision to switch to the event after successive Paralympic shot put golds in 2016 and 2021.

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC