Commonwealth Games 2014: Pole vaulter Sally Peake secures silver medal for Team Wales in Glasgow

Pole vaulter Sally Peake secured Wales a silver track and field medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Peake’s best of 4.25m allowed her to finish second behind defending champion Alana Boyd.

It was Wales 35th of the Games, with four gold, 11 silver and 20 bronze, and the first targeted medal specifically for Welsh Athletics who had a target of four.

Paralympians Aled Davies and Rhys Jones claimed silver and bronze medals but their podium positions were considered under the Disability Sports Wales target.

In monsoon conditions which saw the vaulters struggle with their run-ups and the competition delayed and restarted, Peake cleared 4m at her first attempt and watched her rivals stutter as only four out of the 10 completed a successful vault.

The North Walian then vaulted over 4.15m at her second attempt to pile on the pressure on her rivals who buckled under the pressure and conditions.

This apart from Australian defending champion Alana Boyd who cleared 4.15m at her final attempt knowing a failure would have given Peake gold.

As the weather eased Peake piled on the pressure by going clear at 4.25m but Boyd responded with 4.35m.

Peake, who hails from Hawarden, failed one attempt at that height before opting to raise the bar to 4.40m. After one miss at that height Boyd went clear and Peake missed her final effort. Boyd went onto clear 4.50m.

“It was a crazy night,2 said Peake.

“It was so much fun and I’m chuffed to come away with the silver medal.

“I was so chuffed that I could do this for Wales and for my coach (Scott Simpson) who has also put so much into this.”

5,000m runner Elinor Kirk finished 12th in a time of 15:57:67, 50 seconds behind the Kenyan winner Mercy Cherono with England’s 40-year-old Jo Pavey claiming a brilliant bronze.

“It was a tough race, the pace started off really slowly and then picked up quite a lot,” said Kirk, who hails from Swansea.

“I tried to stick with the pace as long as I could.

“It would have been nice to finish a bit higher and a faster time but I am pleased with how it went.

“I knew there were going to be girls in that race who were really fast so I was happy I didn’t get lapped.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I was just happy to be here.

“A year ago I never thought I would be at the Commonwealth Games.

“Hopefully this is the just the start of my athletics career.

“This is the first year I feel as if I have been able to compere against these girls. The next few years I will get quicker and quicker.”

Chris Gowell (3:42:10) was 10th in the 1500m behind Kenyan winner James Magut.

“I am not sure what happened, I just got caught sleeping a bit,” said the Newport athlete.

“I was never in it. It was all mental today. It was a lack of experience. I did not whether to go out in lane three or lane one and it was very difficult.

“It was awesome to make the final but I think that was my downfall. I was just so happy to be there that I don’t think I approached it properly.

“I deserved to be in the final so I should have been able to compete.

“I’ve taken huge encouragement from this year. I haven’t run fast but making this final, breaking the Welsh record and consistently being competitive over 1500m has given me a lot of encouragement for next year.

“I’m not really happy with tenth but overall the championship has been really good for me and that’s good enough reason for me to carry on next year.

“The atmosphere out there was incredible and I was chuffed and overwhelmed by the great support I got from everyone.

“My parents and my wife are here as well and everyone has been sending me messages from back home so it’s been incredible.

“I’m going back to Wales now and then I’m off to Nepal and India to live in a hut for a month or so!

“It’s a belated honeymoon for me and the wife.”

Lee Doran finished eighth in the javelin with an effort of 72.73m in atrocious conditions, while the 4x100m relay quartet of 16-year-old Hannah Brier, Mica Moore and Rachel Johncock finished seventh in the final.

The four ran a new Welsh record after the drama last night of initially being disqualified in the heat before being reinstated.

Brier said: “We are over the moon. After that heat we came away so disappointed but now we can’t stop smiling.

“It was amazing and it’s great to prove that we deserved to be in that final.

“I’m so proud of these girls, they’re amazing.

“We walked out there and the crowd noise and the flashing lights just hit you.

“As soon as the gun goes the crowd go crazy and it was really good.

“We knew where we went wrong in the heat so we just had to play it safe today and it worked. I’m really happy.

Thomas added: “It was absolutely incredible. I feel like all the emotions are catching up with me now. The DQ was horrible but we were delighted to make the final eventually.

“We did play it safe and it worked. We’re in good shape and we were just pleased to get the baton round.

“It’s a great platform now. We came here for the experience more than anything and we didn’t come last, which we expected to probably.

“I’d like to pay tribute to our coaches as well. They worked so hard for us and we couldn’t have done this without them.

Moore said: “I’m absolutely delighted. After the heat I was a little bit wary that it could go wrong again but I had so much trust in Hannah (Thomas) and I knew that we’d be OK.

“Obviously our changeover did mess up in the heat but we went back to the drawing board, worked out what we needed to do, brought out the check marks and went out there with confidence.

“As soon as the baton was in my hands I screamed ‘yay’ in my head and I’m really pleased that we didn’t look out of place.

Johncock concluded: “I’m so thrilled because we’ve all put in a lot of work and the girls have done so well.

“We trained here, there and everywhere but it was worth it in the end because we’ve just run in the final of the Commonwealth Games and set a new Welsh record.

“The experience has been absolutely fantastic and I’m sure this is just the start.

“We’re a great team and we’re all really good friends. Hannah (Thomas) and I have known each other since we were about eight!

“We wanted to make Wales proud and I think we did that tonight.

“I know lots of people were watching us back home and sending us messages of support so we’re happy that we didn’t let them down.

“I don’t think many people expected Wales to come here and perform well at the 4x100m because we’re a small nation but we’ve got lots of pride and passion and we performed on the day.”


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