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Silver for Molly Caudery seven months after almost losing finger

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Published in Athletics
Tuesday, 02 August 2022 15:50
English pole vaulter had three surgeries on her hand after freak gym accident but wins silver at Commonwealth Games 

Fresh from her bronze medal in the World Championships in Eugene, Nina Kennedy of Australia took gold in the women’s pole vault as Molly Caudery of England claimed her first senior major championship medal with silver despite a horrendous finger injury a few months ago.

Kennedy, who also won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, cleared 4.60m to take victory as Caudery vaulted 4.45m with Imogen Ayris of New Zealand third with 4.45m. With the gold medal sewn up, the 25-year-old from Perth tried to set a Games record of 4.76m but failed her attempts in the gusty conditions.

Alysha Newman, the defending champion from Canada, wound up sixth with a best of 4.25m whereas British record-holder Holly Bradshaw was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury during warm-up.

READ MORE: Injury heartbreak for Holly Bradshaw

The large number of big-name athletes missing the Games not surprisingly led to concerns over whether the event would be a success. Dina Asher-Smith, Neeraj Chopra and Joshua Cheptegei were among those to pull out due to injuries, whereas world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was spotted in Birmingham training and is due to race in the Diamond League in Poland this weekend but chose not to represent Jamaica this week.

In addition there have been grumbles relating to transport around the city, whereas organisers had to get their scrubbing brushes out to clean up the surface of the track after the infrastructure used for the opening ceremony last week left it slightly worse for wear.

Despite this the opening day of track and field at the Alexander Stadium was a big success with a 30,000-strong crowd in the splendidly revamped Alexander Stadium. “The real sport has only just begun,” Daley Thompson grinned just before the start of the evening session.

Jacob Kiplimo (Mark Shearman)

Kiplimo takes 10,000m crown

Only nine athletes started the men’s 10,000m but it was a case of quality over quantity as Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo outkicked Daniel Ebenjo of Kenya to set a Games record of 27:09.19.

The sole English runner, Sam Atkin, led through the first mile but he was caught before halfway, which was reached in 13:45.41, and dropped out soon afterwards with Achilles pain, leaving Scotland’s Andy Butchart as the only home nations hope in the field.

With two kilometres to go Kiplimo, the Olympic bronze medallist last year, began to put the boot in and with one mile to go only Ebenyo and fellow Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie were still in contact.

With three laps to go Kandie began to lose contact as Kiplimo continued to push the pace. Approaching the bell Ebenyo moved to the front and held the lead down the back straight but Kiplimo kicked past his rival with 150m to go and finished a couple of seconds clear after a final five laps of 61.9, 62.0, 60.3, 61.0 and 58.2 (25:15 pace for the last 2000m!).

Kandie held on for bronze in 27:20.34 as Butchart, a relative newcomer to 25 laps and after having suffered a recent bout of Covid, battled home in seventh in 27:53.57.

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