LiveCommonwealth Games Live Blog: Thursday, July 24 (am)

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  • Middlesbrough swimmer Aimee Willmott qualifies for final of 400m IM
  • Hartlepool's Jemma Lowe swims for Wales in 100m butterfly heats
  • North-East table tennis, squash and lawn bowls competitors also in action on day one
  • Mo Farah pulls out of Commonwealth Games because of illness


** Join Scott Wilson for a live blog from the evening session of today's Commonwealth Games programme at around 6.45pm **


So that's it for the first morning of competition at the Commonwealth Games.

England's Jodie Stimpson has just won the first gold of the Games in the women's triathlon - let's hope Teessider Aimee Willmott is adding to England's medal tally when she competes in the final of the 400m Individual Medley just after 1pm.


Huge cheers inside Tollcross as it's a Scottish 1-2-3 in the final heat of the men's 200m breaststroke.

Ross Murdoch was the fastest qualifier - breaking the Commonwealth Games record in the process - with Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson second and Calum Tait third.

Englishman Andrew Willis was the fourth-fastest, and he'll be charged with the task of preventing a Scottish clean sweep of the podium when the final takes place tonight.


Almost there in terms of this morning's session. We're currently watching the men's 200m breaststroke heats, with Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson due to go for Scotland in the final race.


Here's Jemma Lowe's reaction to her qualifying swim in the 100m butterfly. The Hartlepool swimmer seems happy enough ahead of tonight's semi-finals:

Hartlepool's Lowe happy with Commonwealth Games qualifying swim


Jemma Lowe confirmed as the fourth-fastest qualifier for tonight's semi-final of the 100m butterfly.

Like Aimee Willmott earlier, that was a pretty accomplished heat swim, with plenty more left in the tank.

This looks a strong event though, with Australia's Alicia Coutts and Canada's Katerine Savard likely to push Lowe all the way.


Hartlepool's Jemma Lowe finishes second in her 100m butterfly heat, five tenths of a second behind Canada's Katerine Savard.

There's one more heat to go, but the Welsh swimmer's time should be good enough to make tonight's semi-final.



Australian Ellen Gandy wins heat two of the 100m butterfly in 59.14.

Now it's time for Jemma Lowe, in the all red of Wales.


England's Benjamin Proud has just qualified for the semi-finals of the 50m butterfly as the fastest swimmer, pipping Olympic 200m champion Chad le Clos, who was third fastest.

Next up are the heats for the women's 100m butterfly, with Hartlepool's Jemma Lowe swimming for Wales in heat three.


Away from the pool, another couple of North-Easterners have enjoyed a successful morning:

Stockton's Karina Le Fevre was part of the women's table tennis team that cruised to a 3-0 win over Ghana in their opening game.

Sunderland's Stuart Airey helped England's triples lawn bowls team thrash the Falkland Islands 31-8 in their opening group match.


The women's 50m freestyle heats are under way at the moment, with England's Sophie Taylor just having won her heat to make it through to the semi-finals.

Hartlepool's Jemma Lowe, who swims for Wales, is in action in the 100m butterfly heats in about half and hour's time.



We've just had a couple of cracking heats of the women's 200m freestyle.

England's Siobhan O'Connor set a new Commonwealth Games record in the penultimate heat, only for Australia's Emma McKeon to go a hundredth quicker in the next race.

They should be involved in a thriller in the final tonight.


Here's the full details of Aimee Willmott's qualifying swim - and her promise that she'll be going for gold tonight:

Middlesbrough swimmer Willmott makes Commonwealth Games final


The roof has just about come off the Tollcross Swimming Centre as Stephen Milne leads home a Scottish 1-2-3 in the third heat of the 400m freestyle.

Milne just edged out Daniel Wallace, who finished second, and Robbie Renwick, who claimed third.

All three Scottish swimmers exceeded expectations there - providing an early suggestion that home advantage could well have an effect in the pool.


The 400IM final is scheduled for 7.07pm this evening.

We're now in the heats of the 400m freestyle, with James Guy and Daniel Fogg going for England in the next race.


Just spoke to Aimee Willmott, who's fairly confident she left a bit in the tank with that qualifying swim. The final always looked like it was going to be a head-to-head with Hannah Miley - and nothing's really changed on that score after this morning's performances.


Aimee Willmott wins Heat Two - but narrowly misses out on Hannah Miley's new Commonwealth record.

She's the second fastest qualifier for tonight's final, although Emily Overholt and Keryn McMaster will also be in the shake up for the medals.


Superb breaststroke leg from Aimee leaves her in control at the 300m mark. She's opened up a length lead on McMaster - and is faster than Miley was at this stage.


Willmott marginally second after the backstroke leg - just four hundredths behind Australian Keryn McMaster. She'll fancy her chances on breaststroke though.


Very tight on the opening butterfly leg, with Willmott turning second, narrowly behind Australian Ellen Gandy.


Heat two underway, with Aimee Willmott in Lane Four. Decent support for her from the Scottish crowd.


As expected, Hannah Miley wins heat one in a time of 4:38.27, which is a new Commonwealth Games record.

She wasn't hugely impressive in the butterfly and backstroke legs, but came into her own in the breaststroke and hung on the freestyle.

However, Canada's Emily Overholt pushed her all the way, so it'll be interesting to see if Aimee Willmott goes quicker in the next heat.



We're just about ready for the opening heat of the women's 400IM now.

Watch out for Scottish favourite Hannah Miley in lane four - she's guaranteed one hell of a reception, and she might well prove to be Aimee Willmott's biggest competition for the gold medal.


The main breaking news from Glasgow this morning is that Mo Farah has been forced to pull out of the athletics programme.

The double world and Olympic champion has not completed his recovery from an illness and has opted to pull out of both the 5,000m and 10,000m.

A statement from Team England said:

"Team England have today confirmed that Mo Farah will not compete at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Despite making good progress in his recovery from a recent illness Farah has taken the decision to remain at his training base in Font Romeu to return to full fitness in time for the European Championships in Zurich.

Farah said: "I have taken the tough decision to withdraw from the
Commonwealth Games. The sickness I had two weeks ago was a big setback for me. Training is getting better here in Font Romeu but I need another few weeks to get back to the level I was at in 2012 and 2013.  I really wanted to add the Commonwealth titles to my Olympic and World Championships but the event is coming a few weeks too soon for me as my body is telling me it's not ready to race yet.  Best wishes to my fellow athletes in Glasgow."

Team England Chef de Mission Jan Paterson said: "It is a real blow for any athlete to miss out on a major championships through injury, but to have fought so hard to regain full fitness and to have to take such a difficult decision at this stage is particularly hard. We wish Mo all the very best and hope to see him back to his peak very soon."





For a bit of background - here's today's story previewing Aimee's anticipated head-to-head with Hannah Miley.

North-East swimming star determined to silence the opening-day crowds

And to get you in the mood, here's another piece with Loftus table tennis star Paul Drinkhall, who plays his first game in the men's team competition later this morning.

Drinkhall determined to add to his Commonwealth medal haul in Glasgow


The women's 400m Individual Medley is the first event in the pool, with Aimee Willmott competing in the second of the two heats.

She should have no problem making tonight's final, but it'll be interesting to see how her time compares to that of her closest rival, Scotland's Hannah Miley.


Welcome to The Northern Echo's live blog from the first morning of action at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

I'm based at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, where Middlesbrough's Aimee Willmott will attempt to make the final of the 400m Individual Medley.

Hartlepool's Jemma Lowe is also in action, representing Wales in the heats of the 100m butterfly.


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