WHO needs Usain Bolt? The king of Jamaican sprinting might be restricting his involvement to the relay at the Commonwealth Games, but his compatriot, Kemar Bailey-Cole, ensured he would not be too badly missed as he powered to victory in last night’s 100m final.
Bailey-Cole’s time of 10.01sec might not have been particularly impressive, but there was plenty to admire in the effortless fashion in which he overhauled England’s Adam Gemili, who led at the halfway stage.
Gemili held on to claim silver, finally realising the potential he first exhibited a couple of years ago as he claimed his first major championship medal.
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Stockton’s Richard Kilty exited at the semi-final stage to leave Gemili as the only British runner in the final, and while the 20-year-old was unable to live with Bailey-Cole, who is Bolt’s training partner in Kingston, he outperformed another highly-rated Jamaican, Nickel Ashmeade, who had to be content with bronze.
“This is my first senior medal, and to do it on British soil is a great feeling,” said Gemili. “It’s a great stepping stone for the Europeans in a few weeks time.
“I just need to build on this now and try to get established in the senior ranks. These guys are running great week in, week out, but this is a good confidence boost for me.
“The crowd gave me goose-bumps and really spurred me on. I got one of the best starts I’ve had in a long time, and that was probably because of that. I’m happy with that for now, but hopefully I can improve on that in the future and get a gold.”
Kilty shaved three hundredths of a second off his heat time, but 10.27sec was never going to be quick enough to make a major championship final and he eventually finished sixth in his semi.
The Teessider, who freely admits he has gone backwards since claiming the World Indoor title in March, is clearly dissatisfied with the training regime that was forced upon him in the wake of his success in Sopot, and envisages major changes in an attempt to reclaim the form that made him such a potent force over the winter.
“I was hoping to come here and perform better than I have all season, but I’m still stuck in this sluggish form that I’ve been in since my first race outdoors,” said Kilty, who will return to the track as part of England’s 4x100m relay squad.
“There’s something that’s gone wrong. I’ve tried to put my finger on it, and I’ve got a few reasons which might explain things. I don’t want to go into them too much, but there’ll be changes made next year.
“As soon as I finished the World Indoors, I was straight out to Florida for two months. I didn’t really have any time to rest, and clearly since then things haven’t been right with my training.
“It’s a different programme to what I’m used to, and I’m going to have to discuss that with my coach (Rana Reider). I did a full winter by myself and got myself in great shape. Rana made some great technical changes, which benefited me indoors, but going into the outdoors season something definitely hasn’t been right. It seems that around the 10.2 mark is all I can give, and everybody knows I’m better than that.”
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare was a runaway winner of the women’s 100m final, setting a new Games record of 10.85sec as she finished comfortably clear of Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Laura Weightman is safely through to tonight’s 1,500m final, although the Morpeth Harrier had to survive a last-lap scrimmage to force her way through yesterday morning’s heats.
She was reasonably well positioned as Kenyan Faith Kibiegon kicked for home, but with a couple of her rivals stumbling, had to carefully pick her way through the field to come home in third position.
“I could sense coming up to the bell that everyone was getting a bit too close,” said Alnwick-born Weightman. “It was getting a little bit messy, but I tried not to panic and knew my time would come.”