Commonwealth Games

Yohan Blake defeated as South African springs shock victory in 100m final

APIA, SAMOA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Participants hold flags aloft during the Closing Ceremony at the Apia Park Sports Complex on day five of the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games on September 11, 2015 in Apia, Samoa.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
What are the Commonwealth Games?
01:23 - Source: CNN
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He’s got two Olympic and two World Championship golds and is second only to Usain Bolt as the fastest sprinter in athletics history, but that impressive pedigree proved no use for Yohan Blake in the 100-meter Commonwealth Games final on Monday.

Instead the comparatively unknown South African sprinter Akani Simbine stunned the field to take gold.

Jamaican Blake was slow out of the blocks leaving the path clear for the 24-year-old Simbine to claim the biggest title of his career to date in 10.03 seconds.

Blake, who has a personal best of 9.69 seconds for the distance, had to settle for bronze, behind another South African, Henricho Bruintjies, who took silver.

South Africa's Akani Simbine crosses the finish line to claim victory in the men's 100m final at the Commonwealth Games.
Akani Simbine and Henricho Bruintjies celebrate a one-two finish for South Africa in the 100m final.

While athletics has firmly entered the post-Bolt era, the eight-time Olympic champion was still keeping a keen eye on things, tweeting his congratulations to Simbine, adding a message of support to former teammate Blake: “Keep putting in the work. You know your journey.”

In a sporting discipline so heavily reliant on confidence, Simbine said he never doubted his ability to win the 100m.

“I came here wanting to be on the podium. I believed in myself, that I could get the gold medal.

“The 100m is an event of who’s got the biggest ego and who can handle the ego the best. I didn’t focus on what they were all talking about. I just focused on myself.”

Blake pointed to his poor start as the reason behind his failure to live up to his reputation as favorite.

“I’ve been feeling great but I was stumbling and I just couldn’t recover from it. I got up running but I couldn’t catch them. I’m a bit disappointed. I was supposed to take this very easily. It was never meant to be I guess.”

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Yohan Blake was left dejected after a disappointing third-place finish.

After clocking the fastest 100m semifinal time, Blake had installed himself as favorite to take gold, but he must now turn his attention to the 200m final, which takes place on Thursday.

In the women’s 100m final, Michelle-Lee Ahye claimed Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever Commonwealth Games gold, finishing ahead of Jamaica’s Christania Williams and Gayon Evans in silver and bronze respectively.

Usain Bolt warms up during a training of Borussia Dortmund on March 23, 2018 in Dortmund, Germany
Usain Bolt goes to Borussia Dortmund training
01:13 - Source: CNN

Tiny Pacific island claims historic medal

The Norfolk Island three-man lawn bowls team celebrate winning an historic bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Around 1,400 kilometers off Australia’s Gold Coast, sits Norfolk Island – 34 square kilometers of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with a population of just 1,700 people.

Better known for its pine trees than its international athletes, the Australian territory had only won one Commonwealth medal in its history, but the Norfolk Islanders now have another medal to treasure after a trio of lawn bowlers sprung shock defeats against England and Canada to take a historic bronze.

The team members make for quite a combination – a 55-year-old farmer, a 39-year-old musician and a a 62-year-old taxi driver – all coming together at the island’s only bowls club.

The trio came from behind late in the bronze medal match to defeat Canada – a comparative sporting giant – 19-16 to claim the island’s first medal in 24 years and match compatriot Carmen Anderson’s feat of bronze in the lawn bowls at the 1994 Games.

One team member, Haydn ‘Teddy’ Evans, told The Telegraph how much the victory would mean to the islanders: “So many people don’t know anything about Norfolk Island so this is just one little way of helping,” he said.

“We owe it to those people for supporting us so well. We’re a family on Norfolk Island.”

The team is sure to receive a heroes welcome on their return to the island’s capital Kingston, though it’s unclear just how many would have been able to even watch the tense medal-winning match.

“Back on the island the television we get is actually from Central Australia, so it’s around Alice Springs. A lot of people trying to watch today’s game would have been hoping it was televised. A few people found some live streams online,” explained Evans.

In the gold medal match Scotland defeated hosts Australia to claim their sixth gold of the Games, moving up to fifth in the leaderboard.

COUNTY ANTRIM, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 21:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES)  In this handout image provided by Glasgow 2014 Ltd, Clyde, the 2014 Commonwealth Games mascot, poses at the Giants Causeway during the Glasgow 2014 Baton Relay on May 21, 2014 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is nation 67 of 70 nations and territories the Queen's Baton will visit.  (Photo by Ben Birchall/Glasgow 2014 Ltd via Getty Images)
Athletes take the CNN Commonwealth Games Quiz
02:12 - Source: CNN

Transgender weightlifter withdraws through injury

New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was the overwhelming favorite to take gold in the women’s 90kg-plus finals, but an arm injury in a failed third attempt to lift an ambitious 132kg saw her withdraw from the competition.

Hubbard had been at the center of controversy in the lead-up to the event, as several rival teams – including eventual gold medalist Feagaiga Stowers, from Samoa – publicly criticized the decision to let the Kiwi compete as a woman, four years after transitioning from a man.

The 40-year-old Hubbard had previously competed in international competition as a man, leading to some critics to claim she had an “unfair advantage”, although no formal complaint has been lodged with the Commonwealth Games Committee or Weightlifting Federation.

Disaster strikes as Hubbard injures her arm attempting to lift 132kg.

READ: Transgender weightlifter’s historic golden bid derailed by injury

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Nigeria earn first medal of the Games

There were scenes of ecstasy in the Oxenford film and television studios – home to the table tennis at the Games – as Nigeria earned their first medal on the Gold Coast in the men’s team event.

Bode Abiodun secured the African team’s place in the final with a shock victory over England’s Samuel Walker, before the team fell to defeat against India, settling for silver medal.

India stormed to a 3-0 victory in the gold medal clash, earning their ninth gold of the Games, behind Australia and England in the overall medal table.

Table tennis player Bode Abiodun celebrates en route to Nigeria's first medal of the Games.

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Cypriot gold rush

It may not be quite as small as Norfolk Island, but with a population of little over a million people, Cyprus is not used to being near the top of any international medal tables.

But with back-to-back golds on Monday, the island nation moved inside the top 10 on the leaderboard, with four golds and two bronze medals.

Cypriot gymnast Marios Georgiou on his way to victory in the men's parallel bars.

Gymnast Marios Georgiou led the gold rush with his third medal on the Gold Coast – in the men’s parallel bars – while Georgios Achilleos came out on top in the men’s skeet shooting final to continue the nation’s push for a record-breaking Games.