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Thompson-Herah and Omanyala take 100 metre golds in Birmingham

commonwealth games athletics
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah had not previously won an individual Commonwealth Games title before despite claiming five Olympic golds

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the only one of Jamaica’s “Big Three” women to show up at the Commonwealth Games, was rewarded with the 100 metres gold medal on Wednesday, while Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala powered to the men’s title.

Thompson-Herah, twice the 100/200m sprint champion at the Olympics, finished third in last month’s World Championship 100 final behind Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She was originally only a reserve for the Commonwealths but when Fraser-Pryce opted out, she stepped in.

With Dina-Asher Smith, fourth in Eugene, also absent through injury, Thompson-Herah was the clear favourite for her first individual Commonwealth title.

She had looked a little tired in her semi-final but grabbed the early lead in the final and ran her usual smooth race to finish a comfortable winner in 10.95 seconds.

“Feeling good, I didn’t have the best execution but nevertheless I had to dig for that one but I am still grateful to win my first Commonwealth Games,” she said.

“I started in 2014 in the 4x100m. Then in 2018 in the 200m I came fourth and now I upgraded to a gold.”

Saint Lucia’s Julien Alfred was on her shoulder throughout for silver in 11.01 while England’s Daryll Neita recovered well from a terrible start to grab bronze in 11.07.

Omanyala, who set an African record of 9.77 seconds last year, served a 14 month doping ban four years ago. He failed to make the final at last month’s World Championships after arriving in the United States hours before the heats due to visa problems.

Impressive in the semi-final he looked the favourite on Wednesday and duly controlled the final from gun to tape, flying out of the blocks and surging clear and looking more like a barrelling rugby prop than a sprinter to win in 10.02 seconds.

He is the second Kenyan to take the title after Seraphino Antao in 1962, when the event was still run over 100 yards.

South Africa’s defending champion Akani Simbine took silver in 10.13 with Yupun Abeykoon from Sri Lanka getting the bronze in 10.14.

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