Caster Semenya cruises to 1500m gold as South African gold rush continues

Wayde van Niekerk might not be competing in this year's Commonwealth Games due to injury, but South Africa are managi...

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 2:56 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 2:56 PM

Wayde van Niekerk might not be competing in this year's Commonwealth Games due to injury, but South Africa are managing pretty well on the track without him.

After Akina Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies stormed to a one-two finish ahead of favorite Yohan Blake in the men's 100-meter final on Monday, Tuesday saw double Olympic champion Caster Semenya cruise to gold in the women's 1500m.

The 27-year-old obliterated the field, setting a personal best and Commonwealth Games record of 4.00.71 in the process, in another landmark race for her already glittering career.

Having won 800m gold at both the London and Rio Olympics, the 1500m is a relatively new race for her and victory will be a huge encouragement ahead of her 800m final on Friday, with her sights set on a world record that has stood for 35 years.

Semenya, who carried the flag for South Africa at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, is hyperandrogenous -- meaning she has elevated testosterone levels -- and the condition has dogged her athletics career ever since she won the world 800m title as an 18-year-old in 2009.

"It's not about looking at people [and] how they look, how they speak, how they run," Semenya recently told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"You know, it's not about being muscular. It's about sports," she said. "When you walk out of your apartment, you think about performing. You don't think about how your opponents look. You just want to do better."

Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech finished almost three seconds behind Semenya to take silver, while Welsh runner Melissa Courtney took bronze.

Semenya's gold takes South Africa ahead of Canada in the overall medal table, into fifth place behind Australia, England, India and New Zealand.

Cool rollings

For a small Caribbean island, Jamaica has had its fair share of international sporting success -- and not just on the track.

It has also been a nation attracted to the most unlikely of sports. Just think of the famous "Cool Runnings" bobsled team of the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Now Jamaica has found a new hero in a sport more closely associated with rainy Britain than the soft white sands of the Caribbean island: lawn bowler Andrew Newell.

One of the so-called "Reggae Rollers," Newell sprung one of the biggest shocks of the Games when he defeated English world No. 3 and gold medal favorite Robert Paxton 21-16 in round three of the men's singles lawn bowls.

After suffering brutal defeat in his first two matches -- 21-0 and 21-2 -- the victory over Paxton then spurred Newell onto a second success, this time over India's Krishna Xalxo, meaning a win in his final group tie tomorrow could see the 44-year-old progress to the quarterfinals.

Fast-becoming one of the cult heroes of the Games, Newell has even been stopped for a photograph in the athletes' village by former Olympic champion Yohan Blake.

Unticked box

It is universally accepted fact of life that nobody enjoys doing their admin. Nobody.

Generally, though, the consequences of a quickly skimming over a set of terms and conditions are minimal, or even non-existent.

But be careful what you tick -- or don't tick -- as English cyclist Melissa Lowther has found out to her cost after she was unable to compete in the women's individual time trial due to an administrative gaffe from a Team England official.

An unticked box on her entry form meant the 21-year-old Lowther was not formally registered for the event.

"I can't put into words how disappointed I am to have been missed off the start list due to an admin error," said Lowther in a statement posted on Instagram.

"It was one of my targets this season to make selection for the time trial event and I was so proud that my hard work in training paid off.

"While Team England have apologized, I'm still gutted not to have the opportunity to represent my country after all the hard miles I've put in."

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In an earlier statement, Team England Chef de Mission Sarah Winckless said: "I have spoken to Melissa to offer my sincere apologies to her, her coaches and to British Cycling.

"Melissa has trained hard for and focused on this race and it should never be the case that an error on our part prevents an athlete showing what she can do.

"We appealed to the Commonwealth Games Federation to allow Melissa into the race but it was not possible at such short notice," added Winckless.

"Team England will be conducting a review to understand how the situation has arisen and how it can be prevented from happening again."

Though it was too late to fix the error in time for the time trial, Lowther will have another chance to compete this Saturday in the women's road race.

Para powerlifters carrying Team Nigeria

After the Rio Paralympics in 2016 and now the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the Nigerian team is making a habit of complete dominance in the para powerlifting.

Nigeria topped the podium in all four para powerlifting events on the Gold Coast on Tuesday -- with Roland Ezuruike, Esther Oyema, Ndidi Nwosu and Abdulazeez Ibrahim all claiming gold in their divisions, not to mention an additional two silver medals for the African nation.

Onyema -- who had previously taken gold in Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 -- broke a world record en route to her title, lifting almost three times her bodyweight, a whopping 141.6kg in the women's lightweight category.

Malawi overcome Scotland in netball thriller

In a Commonwealth Games packed with more than a few fairytale stories, the Malawian netball team is starting to stand out as a real Cinderella story.

Having not won a single Commonwealth medal since 1986, the African nation clung on in a heart-pounding climax to defeat Scotland 51-50 to keep their hopes of a semifinal berth alive.

After leading 51-49 with 27 seconds on the clock, the Scots pulled the score to 51-50 before Malawi's Jane Chimaliro was sent off for time wasting.

Scotland's goal attack Lynsey Gallagher then missed both shots, giving Malawi a thrilling victory that went down to the last throw of the game.

It is Malawi's second underdog victory in three days, after they defeated heavily-favored New Zealand 57-53 on Sunday.

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