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Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Four golds in under four hours for stunning Scots

Four golds in under four hours for stunning Scots

Scotland claimed an astonishing four gold medals - and six in total - during less than four hours of incredible Commonwealth Games drama in Birmingham on Wednesday.

Para-bowlers Pauline Wilson and Rosemary Lenton started the rush, the latter becoming Scotland's oldest gold medallist at the age of 72.

Then, Sarah Adlington retained her +78kg judo title and became Scotland's first ever double judo gold medallist, before swimmer Duncan Scott added his second gold of these Games.

And Eilish McColgan produced the most remarkable result of all to rampage to victory in the 10,000m and match her mother Liz's success in 1986 and 1990. And just for good measure, she did it in a Games record with her maw watching trackside.

Those coruscating few hours were bookended by Adlington's team-mate Rachel Tytler taking bronze in the -78kg category, and Scott joining Craig McNally, Ross Murdoch - in the last races of their career - and Evan Jones to claim third in the 4 x 100m medley relay.

It also added an enormous dollop of polish to Scotland's standing. Medals have been surprisingly bountiful, but golds vexingly rare. Not any more. The nine won in Goal Coast four years ago are now in significant danger of being surpassed.

The tally now stands at 32 in total, with seven gold, eight silver and 17 bronze just past the halfway point, with another three bronzes - at least - secured by the boxers earlier on Wednesday.

Reese Lynch, Sam Hickey and Sean Lazzerini all won their quarter-finals in Birmingham, and will watch team-mates Lennon Mulligan, Matthew McHale and Tyler Jolly try to do the same on Thursday.


'In a couple of weeks I'm 73...'


Lenton and Wilson, with a combined age of 130, were perhaps the most gladdening of the successes, though, on an enthralling day.

The duo didn't just beat their Australian opponents, they overwhelmed them 17-5 in a dominant display, having seen off England in their semi-final. It matched the achievement of their male pairs counterparts.

"I'd never thought we'd be going home with a gold medal," Lenton told BBC Scotland. "I hoped and prayed we would. When it really mattered - the semi-finals and finals - we really turned it on, both of us.

"In a couple of weeks' time, I will be 73, but records are there to be broken and somebody will break that."

Scott is your man for that kind of business. The swimmer has not only ransacked 78-year-old Alister Allan's record of 10 Commonwealth Games medals this week and pushed the mark out to 13, but he has also now stripped the shooter of the consolation that he still had won more golds.

The Olympic medallist now taken gold in the 200m freestyle and medley, as well as bronze 400m medley, 100m free, 4 x 200m freestyle and 4 x 100m medley relay, all in the past five days. And he took one of those off to rest.

"I'm absolutely exhausted," the 25-year-old told BBC Sport Scotland. "I was really hurting and I'm really glad that I'm finished, to be honest.

"It's been a really long week and I just scraped the barrel there and the team helped me out. I'm just absolutely buzzing for the four of us, and the four that did the heat. It's been all of us coming together to get that bronze."

Given her recent difficulties with illness and injury - and the stacked nature of the 10,000m - it seemed a bronze might be the best McColgan could hope for. But the 31-year-old Dundonian is one of the most obdurate athletes on the circuit.

She led early and maintained her form throughout, before finding herself in a duel with Irine Cheptai with a lap to go.

The Kenyan surged ahead on the back straight but McColgan wasn't having any of her capers, digging in and rampaging past to record the biggest win of her career.

"I have never sprinted like that in my life and without the crowd I could never have done that," she told BBC Sport. "It was vibrating through my body.

"I couldn't have asked for anything more to have my family here. Your family know the ups and downs and this is my fourth attempt over four events and I have come sixth every time. You could see I wanted gold. To win it tonight was so special."

Mother Liz, a redoubtably presence at the best of times, stood emotionally beside her as she spoke.

"To witness your daughter win in the same event is incredible," she added. "She just ran the race I knew she was capable of running. I know how hard she works and it's fantastic it came together and she won."

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