POTTER ‘TRI’S IT OUT’ IN OZ
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.
EX-MOUNTAIN RUNNER FROM UGANDA TOO STRONG FOR RIVALS
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