Athletics Weekly - - NEWS -

BETH POT­TER be­came the first Scot­tish ath­lete to con­test two sports at a sin­gle Com­mon­wealth Games on the Gold Coast and although she en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence, she ad­mit­ted it’s not some­thing she will rush to do again, writes Jes­sica Whittington.

The 26-year-old first fin­ished 12th in the in­di­vid­ual triathlon and then helped the Scot­tish team to sev­enth in the mixed team re­lay. Then, just two days later, she switched triathlon for track and placed 18th in the 10,000m.

“It was tough,” said the

2017 Bri­tish 10,000m cham­pion, who rep­re­sented GB at the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don last sum­mer and the Rio Olympics.

“I have been fo­cus­ing on the triathlon this year so it has meant that I’ve had to take a bit of a step back from the run­ning side of things, just un­til I get my bik­ing and my swim­ming up to scratch. I re­ally didn’t know how I was go­ing to be com­ing into this but I gave it a good go, I gave it ev­ery­thing that I had left.

“I al­ready had an hour and a half of rac­ing in my legs,” she added, speak­ing after the 10,000m.

“It was go­ing to be tough rac­ing these girls who are com­ing into this fresh and this is their lone event. But it was fun.

“I’ve got a week off to re­cover and then I’ll go back to the UK for train­ing and get­ting ready for my next tri.”

Olympic triathlon cham­pion Alis­tair Brown­lee has con­sid­ered a triathlon and 10,000m dou­ble at the Com­mon­wealth Games in the past but has not done it.

Flora Duffy of Ber­muda won the women’s triathlon on the Gold Coast while the women’s 10,000m was won by Stella Chesang of Uganda.


FOR the se­cond day run­ning Uganda again got the bet­ter of Kenya in the dis­tance run­ning events as Stella Chesang fol­lowed up Joshua Chep­tegei’s 5000m win with an as­sured vic­tory over 25 laps.

With­out any real notable top class stars, this looked an open event and, in warm con­di­tions of around 21C, so it proved.

All 19 run­ners were in con­tention as the open­ing kilo­me­tre took 3:15.0 with

In­dian Lo­ganathan Suriya out ahead at 32:30 pace. The tempo stayed fairly sim­i­lar through 2000m (6:33.5) and 3000m (9:48.4) and only Le­sotho’s Li­neo Chaka dropped off.

The lead then changed when Kenya’s Stacy Ndiwa went ahead but the tempo stayed the same through 4000m in 13:02.1 and half­way in 16:14.8.

Only one more dropped off as Wales’ Jenny Nesbitt lost con­tact (16:22.1) and so 17 re­mained in the medal hunt.

Ndiwa in­creased the pace once the se­cond half was reached and a 3:10.17 kilo­me­tre saw off the two re­main­ing home na­tions ath­letes in the pack as Emma Mitchell and Beth Pot­ter lost con­tact and now 15 re­mained with 4000m left to run.

Ndiwa upped the pace fur­ther with a 3:07.36 up to 7000m and two more dropped off and a slower 3:11.7 saw a fur­ther one to drop as Ndiwa led a group of 12 through 8000m in 25:43.94.

Ndiwa ac­cel­er­ated again through the penul­ti­mate kilo­me­tre with a 3:08.78 and now nine re­mained but Kenyan tri­als win­ner San­dra Tuei and Aussie Made­line Hills were drop­ping a few me­tres back and the medals looked like they would go any way of seven at 9000m (28:52.72).

The at­mos­phere height­ened and the crowd roared when Celia Sul­lo­h­ern moved into con­tention 500m from home, but at that point Chesang burst ahead to sprint through the bell and the gaps quickly opened.

The Ugan­dan held con­trol through a 63.4 last lap to com­plete a 2:52 clos­ing kilo­me­tre and a 15:30 se­cond half.

Ndiwa en­sured a Kenyan medal with a strong last 200m and she was chased home by Uganda’s Mer­cy­line Che­lan­gat, who had beaten Chesang in the Ugan­dan tri­als.

Chesang showed prom­ise as a young­ster, fin­ish­ing fourth in the 2013 world youth 3000m and the 2014 world ju­nior 5000m be­fore try­ing out moun­tain run­ning.

Back in 2015, she beat Bri­tish run­ners Emily Collinge and Emma Clay­ton to the world moun­tain run­ning ti­tle in Betws-y-Coed in Wales. That same year she also fin­ished

11th in the World Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships in China but on 2018 form a se­cond place in the Ugan­dan tri­als 10,000m and a fifth place at the African Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships last month didn’t make her stand out as an ob­vi­ous favourite.

Her win meant Uganda be­came only the third coun­try to win 10,000m gold after Scot­land and Kenya.

She said: “”I’m re­ally happy and I know back home, the peo­ple are also cel­e­brat­ing there, and with me here. I want to tell them keep cel­e­brat­ing, more of us are still com­ing. I was not ex­pect­ing to win, but reach­ing 1500 me­tres, I thought, ‘this game is mine.’ I was check­ing my body, I was feel­ing strong. Then reach­ing 400 me­tres to go, I said ‘if they chase me and get me, they take my gold’. Sul­lo­h­ern was roared home in sixth and Hills was eighth but the home na­tions trio strug­gled on the se­cond half but at least Mitchell ex­celled to fin­ish 15th in a North­ern Ire­land record 32:49.91.

“When these girls put their foot down and be­gan to pull away, it was hard to go with that,” said Mitchell. “I had to keep men­tally strong. I had to put in work to catch peo­ple and main­tain my form from train­ing and keep that be­lief.”

Wales’ late call-up Nesbitt plugged away to fin­ish 17th in a PB 32:58.14. She was one of seven PBs in the race.

Scot­land’s Beth Pot­ter, who was fifth in Glas­gow, and com­peted in the triathlon ear­lier in the week, took 17:10.5 for her se­cond half and was 18th in 33:26.78 (News, p35).

It was dis­ap­point­ing that Eng­land chose not to se­lect any run­ners at this event. Ka­t­rina Woot­ton ran a mixed 10,000m in 31:45.63 last Septem­ber, a time al­most iden­ti­cal to the win­ner on the Gold Coast although ad­mit­tedly in very dif­fer­ent con­di­tions.

Beth Pot­ter: rep­re­sent­ing Scot­land, last week­end com­peted in the triathon and this week in the 10,000m, fin­ish­ing in 18th

Stacy Ndiwa leads from Stella Chesang with Aussie Celia Sul­lo­h­ern well placed

With Australian medal hopes, the women’s 10,000m en­joyed a great at­mos­phere but was won ul­ti­mately

by a Ugan­dan run­ner Stella Chesang (right)

Stella Chesang (cen­tre) with Stacy Ndiwa (left) and Mer­cy­line Che­lan­gat

Jenny Nesbitt: PB from Welsh run­ner

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