x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Underdogs stun opponents with relay victory

India has surprisingly won the women's 4x400-metre relay, with Ashwini Akkunji overtaking a Nigerian opponent just before the final hand-off and Mandeep Kaur sprinting to victory.

NEW DELHI // India surprisingly won the women's 4x400-metre relay yesterday, with Ashwini Akkunji overtaking a Nigerian opponent just before the final hand-off and Mandeep Kaur sprinting to victory. The gold was only the second on the track in Commonwealth Games history for India. 

"That may have changed the direction of track and field [in India]," said Lord Sebastian Coe, the two-time Olympic gold medallist. India, with Manjeet Kaur and Sini Jose running the opening two legs of the race, won in 3mins 27.77secs.

Akkunji started the third leg in second place, but she turned on the pace around the final bend and passed Nigeria's Bukola Abogunloko just before the final hand over. England completed a clean sweep of the gold medals in the 4x100m relays yesterday, winning both the men's and women's races. The men's team of Ryan Scott, Leon Baptiste, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis won in 38.74secs at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, holding off a Jamaican team missing top sprinters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.

"This brings back memories of 2004," Lewis-Francis, who won an Olympic gold medal with Britain at the Athens Games, said. In the women's sprint relay, England earned the gold by nearly a second, winning in 44.19secs. Katherine Endacott led off and was followed by Montell Douglas, Laura Turner and Abiodun Oyepitan. Kenya's Silas Kiplagat won the men's 1500m in 3mins 41.78secs, and teammate James Magut was second. But Nick Willis, the defending champion from New Zealand, helped avoid a Kenyan sweep by claiming bronze.

Kenya swept all the medals in the women's 5,000m, however, with Vivian Cheruiyot, winning in 15.55.12 ahead of Sylvia Kibet and Ines Chenonge. In the men's triple jump, Renjith Maheswary broke the Indian national record to secure bronze with a leap of 17.07m behind Lucien Mamba Schlick of Cameroon (17.14m), and Tosin Oke of Nigeria (17.16m). New Zealand won the rugby sevens gold, overcoming a 10-point deficit to beat Australia 24-17.

Tom Daley, England's 16-year-old world champion, combined with Max Brick to win the men's 10m platform synchronised diving final with 439.65 points, almost 16 clear of Australia's Matthew Mitcham and Ethan Warren. "It's amazing," Daley said.