In Usain Bolt’s absence, training partner Kemar Bailey-Cole collected the first individual gold of his career by winning the 100 metres at the Commonwealth Games on Monday. The Jamaican clocked exactly 10 seconds at the cool Hampden Park track in Glasgow, a tenth of a second ahead of English sprinter Adam Gemili, while compatriot Nickel Ashmeade took bronze.
“It feels very good to have the spotlight on me once,” the 22-year-old Bailey-Cole said. “I’m not looking towards Usain. I’m just looking towards me, getting my things and achieving my dreams, winning as many races as I can.”
The quietly-spoken Bailey-Cole had to recover from a rough start before edging over the line first. “I just came out here relaxed because if you run with tension you won’t get your results,” he said. “Even if I didn’t get the right start, I held my composure and drove right through.”
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Gemili was also celebrating a first-ever senior medal on the road to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics despite struggling to sleep on Sunday night due to “inexperience and nerves” while preparing to represent England at a major championship.
“It’s not about times today, it’s (about) positions because the times will come,” he said. “Medals are what count and this is a stepping stone now for the Europeans, worlds and then Rio in 2016.”
The stadium was packed with many fans who had bought tickets expecting to see Bolt, but injury has restricted the Olympic champion to the 4x100m relay. Bailey-Cole is likely to feature with Bolt in the Jamaican relay team in Friday’s heats, but he isn’t completely enjoying the Scottish experience. The menu isn’t to his liking in the athletes’ village.
“It’s really different (to the 2012 London Olympics), the food was way better than this,” Bailey-Cole said. “It needs a bit more seasoning.”
The women’s sprint title was taken by Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, who won in 10.85 seconds. “It’s amazing, great, a blessing,” Okagbare said. “Everything has come together. It all just fell in place.” The women’s podium was completed by Jamaicans, with silver for Veronica Campbell-Brown and bronze for Kerron Stewart.
Jamaica’s first gold medal of the Glasgow Games had been won by shot putter O’Dayne Richards, throwing 21.61 meters. Tom Walsh of New Zealand took silver and Tim Nedow of Canada collected bronze. Nedow’s compatriot, Sultana Frizell, went better in the women’s hammer throw by winning gold with 71.97 meters.
Rudisha on course
World 800 metres record holder David Rudisha began his Commonwealth Games campaign with a comfortable first round victory at Hampden Park on Tuesday. The Olympic champion, who won the 800 at the Glasgow Diamond League meeting earlier this month, qualified fastest for Wednesday’s semi-finals in one minute 46.89 seconds.
“Today was all about qualifying, so I’m trying to reserve as much energy as possible,” the Kenyan told reporters. “I’m happy to be here at this time of the season, it is unbelievable, and my body is able to respond very quickly.” After being plagued by a knee injury for most of 2013 and missing the world championships in Moscow, the 25-year-old was competing in only his fifth race of the season.
Rudisha clocked a season best time of 1:42.98 at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco on July 18 and looked relaxed as he led from the front and eased to an effortless heat victory on Tuesday.
“It has been a tough year, it has not been easy,” he said. “I am going to struggle a bit this season, but I am forecasting to do well next year.”
The men’s 800 final is on Thursday.