It’s a medal-laden penultimate day on the Gold Coast with 14 of the 44 gold medals claimed by the home nations, including eight of those in the ring. It’s all the latest from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
- Six of the eight gold medals on offer in the evening session at the boxing go to home nations fighters with four silver medals also claimed by Northern Irish and Welsh boxers
- Liam Pitchford becomes the most-decorated English table tennis player in Commonwealth Games history after teaming with Paul Drinkhall to take men’s doubles gold, with either gold or silver to come in the mixed doubles tomorrow
- The England women’s basketball team finish with silver after hosts Australia take the title thanks to a 99-55 win
- Silver for Matthew Dixon in the final diving event of the Games – the men’s 10m platform
- There is redemption for England men’s hockey team as they bounce back from semi-final defeat to secure bronze by beating India
- Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour and England’s Rajiv Ouseph battle to women’s and men’s singles bronze respectively at the badminton with a further four medals guaranteed after a quartet of doubles pairings progress into Sunday’s gold-medal matches
- Wrestler Syerus Eslami takes bronze in the men’s 86kg freestyle
- Earlier success includes the 4x100m relay golden double for England plus a famous netball win as England move into the gold-medal match
Home nations boxers dominate in the ring
Sandy Ryan claimed one of the home nations’ eight Commonwealth Games boxing golds on Saturday – and then admitted that she will keep beating up the boys in her team in a bid to be ready for Tokyo 2020.
Ryan moved up to 69kg on the Gold Coast but still had too much for the competition as she claimed victory at Oxenford Studios, downing Rosie Eccles of Wales in a split decision in the final.
The 24-year-old has already set her sights on Tokyo 2020 and an Olympic medal but to get ready for the move up in weight class, revealed she has been sparring her male teammates on the England squad – including bronze medallist Luke McCormack – to prepare for bigger opponents.
“I love sparring the lads though, I love it," she said. “It’s completely different to sparring the girls, and no disrespect to the girls, but the boys are so sharp and I have to stay switched on throughout, I learn so much.
“I don’t think Luke hits me as hard as the lads but he does go for it. If he didn’t go for it I would tell him ‘Luke, there is no point in this’ – and then he puts it on me, that’s what I like!
“There is loads more, including the Worlds at the end of this year where I will be looking to become world champion. By then I will have changed a lot, and after that the Olympic Games – that’s the aim.”
After Galal Yafai and Lisa Whiteside had claimed gold in the afternoon session, which you can read about here, Ryan was one of six home nations winners in the evening as English trio Peter McGrail (56kg), Pat McCormack (69kg) and Frazer Clarke (+91kg) and Welsh duo Lauren Price (women’s 75kg) and Sammy Lee (81kg) all climbed the top step of the podium.
And super heavyweight Clarke was particularly animated after putting his name on the map by beating India’s Satish Kumar in the final.
“I hope people do recognise me now – I am Frazer Clarke, big Fraze, from a little town called Burton on Trent,” said the 26-year-old.
“If you don’t know me now, get to know me, because you are going to be seeing a lot more of me over the next few years.
“Everyone has an allotted time frame, I just took a little longer than the others. I am a slow developer and I am still getting better. You can see that tonight, I am not perfect – far from it.”
Golden times for Drinkhall and Pitchford
Not since 2002 and the first appearance of table tennis at a Commonwealth Games have England won the men’s doubles title.
On that occasion it was Andrew Baggaley and Gareth Herbert. You can now add Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall to that list after their success on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
It had looked like India’s Sharath Achanta had inspired a title-clinching recovery alongside partner Sathiyan Gnanasekaran but the English duo held their nerve in the fifth-game decider to triumph 11-5 10-12 9-11 11-6 11-8.
That represented a first men’s doubles medal for Drinkhall while Pitchford further etched his name into the history books, taking his tally of Commonwealth Games medals to eight after also making it through to tomorrow’s mixed doubles final.
That makes him England’s most decorated table tennis player, overtaking Baggaley no less.
Drinkhall said: “It’s a fantastic achievement. From a very young age you watch big events like this. We were planning on coming here and winning a lot of medals and to get the gold around our neck is great.”
Satisfying silver on the court
The final itself may not have gone to plan for England women’s basketball team but the retiring Azania Stewart insists winning a silver medal is an incredible achievement in itself.
England had booked their place in the final with a sublime 65-53 semi-final victory over Canada on Friday but found hosts Australia a step too far in the gold-medal match.
The Australians built up an early advantage – leading 26-10 by the end of the first quarter – and never looked back, easing to a 99-55 win. Not that Stewart had any regrets.
She said: “I feel ecstatic, I'm really excited and happy and what a great moment for English basketball.
“We lost to a class team and I'm so happy for them, they played a great tournament all the way through. They are well deserving and they played great tonight.
“This silver medal is at the top for me. I'm getting ready to retire and to have a silver medal in my trophy cabinet is a beautiful thing."
Dixon dreams of Daley’s path
Matthew Dixon won Commonwealth silver in the men’s 10m platform diving final and is now aiming to emulate Tom Daley.
Dixon clinched his second silver of the Games by producing five solid dives and came so close to snatching gold with his sixth and final effort – needing 68.90 points to overhaul Domonic Bedggood of Australia and registering a score of 67.20.
That matched the silver he won alongside Noah Williams, who finished fourth in the individual, in the 10m synchro – where they missed out to four-time Commonwealth gold medallist, four-time European gold medallist, three-time world champion and two-time Olympic medallist Daley and his partner Dan Goodfellow.
“I would love to be as good as Tom Daley,” said 17-year-old Dixon. “Obviously it's hard to follow in someone's footsteps as big as Tom's but I would love to do it and just go out there and smash it in my own way.
“I'm gutted about not getting the gold, but I'm taking away two silvers, I'm 17, a lot of experience taken away and I'm really happy.”
There were four home nations divers in the top six of the 10m platform final as Dixon and Williams were joined by Scotland’s Lucas Thomson and Wales’ Aidan Heslop in fifth and sixth respectively. England's Katherine Torrance was the best performing British diver in the women's 3m springboard in seventh.
Sam at the double to Ward off India
Sam Ward’s brace saw England beat India 2-1 to win bronze in the men’s hockey but veteran midfielder Barry Middleton described the victory as bittersweet.
Ward gave England an early lead and although Varun Kumar equalised in the second period at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre, the English forward netted his second after half-time and the team held on at the death.
Middleton, 34, says this will be his fourth and final Commonwealth Games and although he was pleased to end on a high, he admits the 2-1 semi-final loss to Australia on Friday still stings.
"It's strange, these are the ones you want to get excited for but I'm far too tired,” said Middleton. "I guess it's still a bit bittersweet for me individually as yesterday's result still hurts.
"We spoke a lot about how bad we felt yesterday and it would be multiplied by 100 if we were to go home without at least getting that bronze.
“These players are all evolving as a team and I'm obviously the old man hanging on. These are definitely my last Commonwealth Games, it'll be tough to put this body through another one of these."
Famous five for Ouseph
Rajiv Ouseph left everything out on the court, bouncing back from semi-final disappointment to add a fifth Commonwealth Games badminton medal to his impressive collection.
Already a Gold Coast bronze medallist from the team event, European champion Ouseph bounced back from his semi-final defeat to Indian top seed Srikanth Kidambi earlier today to save two match points against Kidambi’s compatriot HS Prannoy and take men’s singles bronze.
That came courtesy of a 17-21 25-23 21-9 scoreline as his stunned opponent struggled to recover from missing out on the chance to wrap up the match in the second game.
"I was disappointed after this morning, but I managed to pick myself up,” said Ouseph, "In the bronze-medal match I was down in the second, and I just thought that there is no point in saving myself.
“I was lucky to win the second; we both had game points. It was very tense, but I was happy to pull through.
"The momentum went in my favour, I think he was kind of down on himself. I just tried to keep getting points as quick as possible to finish the game, so I am very happy."
Scottish shuttler Kirsty Gilmour also secured bronze in the women’s singles, exacting revenge over Michelle Li for her Commonwealth Games gold medal defeat from four years ago – triumphing 21-11 21-16.
Eslami uses Takhti inspiration to claim bronze
Gholamreza Takhti might not be a name familiar to many people involved with this year’s Commonwealth Games but Syerus Eslami used the Iranian wrestler from the 1950s and 60s to help him leave the Gold Coast with a bronze medal.
Englishman Eslami keeps a picture of Takhti – who won silver medals at the 1952 and 1960 Olympic Games, as well as gold at Melbourne 1956 but is also remembered for his incredible sportsmanship on the mat – in his corner during every one of his bouts.
Spurred on by his hero, who died aged 37 in 1968, Eslami knocked out Kenya’s Mark Inguyesi in the last 16 and New Zealand’s Toby Fitzpatrick in the quarter-finals of the men’s freestyle wrestling 86kg division.
He lost his semi-final to Melvin Bibo of Nigeria but bounced back in the bronze-medal bout against David Conteh of Sierra Leone to triumph by technical superiority, without dropping a point and take his place on the podium.
“It means a lot to represent my country on such big scale and even better to take a medal back home,” explained the 22-year-old. “I’m now a step closer to my real dream, which is to be an Olympic champion.
“Gholamreza Takhti was a medallist at the Olympic Games and also a world champion. He was remembered not so much for his wrestling but because of how he wrestled.
“He competed with great sportsmanship, and I hope to be as good as him one day.”
The penultimate day of action began with a golden double for England’s 4x100m relay teams, a slew of success in the boxing ring, Welsh joy in the road cycling, a dramatic netball victory and some pinpoint shooting.
Read more here
Day 11 preview
The 2018 Commonwealth Games come to their conclusion on Sunday but there are plenty of medals up for grabs before the closing ceremony 10:30am UK time.
After two days of qualification, England’s men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams both face New Zealand in the semi-finals, just two victories away from a gold medal.
Liam Pitchford will aim for another table tennis gold as he and Tin-Tin Ho go in the mixed doubles final, while Sam Walker battles Sharath Achanta of India for men’s singles bronze.
Three English pairs and one Scottish duo will be fighting for medals in the various squash doubles, while with a different racquet there are plenty of English medals hopes in the badminton medal matches.
The ball sports will see England’s netballers looking to follow up their dramatic semi-final win over Jamaica today by taking down hosts Australia in the final and Scotland’s male basketball stars squaring off with New Zealand in the bronze-medal contest.
But the day starts on the road, from 22:20 tonight in fact, with the marathons – England’s Alyson Dixon and Sonia Samuels and Wales’ Caryl Jones and Elinor Kirk going in the women’s event, while Scotland’s Callum Hawkins – who finished ninth at the Rio 2016 Olympics – probably the home nations’ best chance of success over 26 miles in the men’s race.