Child savours special silver
10:29pm Thursday 31st July 2014
© Press Association 2017
10:29pm Thursday 31st July 2014
© Press Association 2017
Eilidh Child hailed one of the greatest days of her life as the poster girl of the Commonwealth Games landed silver in the 400 metres hurdles.
The 27-year-old, whose pictures are plastered on billboards across the city, was beaten to the title by Kaliese Spencer, the favourite, but there was only delight that she was able to deliver on the expectation.
Child, who was greeted by deafening cheers from a packed crowd amid a sea of Saltires inside Hampden Park, came home in 55.02 seconds, with the Jamaican taking a dominant win in 54.10secs.
Child said: "I put down a really good race, I stepped off that track knowing I had given it everything and I'm just delighted to come away with a silver medal.
"I knew if I executed my race right I could come away with a medal, I didn't know which colour.
"I knew I would have to be on my A game to beat Kaliese and she ran faster than my best there so I think the right lady won, but I'm just so happy with how I ran.
"I'm so happy. I think I said after the Olympics I came off thinking I could have done more. I came off that line and my legs were gone, they were gone at that finishing line, I couldn't give any more.
"I put on a good performance. It was not enough for gold, but I will cherish my silver medal. That's one of my best moments ever."
The Hearts fan celebrated by mocking her team's great rivals Hibernian, making a 5-1 sign with her hands in reference to the result in the 2012 Scottish Cup final - although she had to complete her lap of honour to the strains of The Proclaimers, huge Hibs fans.
Child, who had family members scattered around the stands cheering her on, said she tried to block out the pressure.
"I tried to go out there and think of it as a Diamond League meeting," she said. "I have to admit when the crowd shouted my name it was even louder than in the heats and it did give me goosebumps. But I think I've done Malcom (Arnold) proud."
It was not just her renowned hurdles coach who could feel a sense of pride, though - it was coursing through every Scottish fan in the stadium.
Running from lane six, with Spencer three inside her, Child knew she had to go out hard.
The tension was increased when, with the athletes in their blocks, a sudden noise inside the stadium prompted laughter and the athletes had to stand up.
Child and Spencer both went off quickly, but it was the latter, the classy world number one, who had established a clear lead coming into the home straight and Child could not close the gap.
Jessica Ennis-Hill, who experienced the pressure of being the 'face' of a Games at London 2012, was quick to congratulate Child, saying on Twitter: "Congratulation!! Brilliant run! Lots of pressure and pulled it out the bag :) Enjoy celebrating!"
Despite winning Commonwealth silver in Delhi four years ago, the Hearts fan has spent her career largely in the shadow of Perri Shakes-Drayton.
The Londoner beat her to the British title in for three years running from 2011 before Child finally upgraded to gold this year, in the absence of her injured rival.
Child reached the semi-finals at London 2012 before coming home fifth at last year's World Championships in Moscow, but even that achievement was overshadowed by the serious knee injury suffered by Shakes-Drayton in the same race.
But Child demonstrated her credentials with an impressive win in the Diamond League meeting on this very track earlier this month and the Edinburgh University graduate was able to add another medal to her collection.
The gods appeared to be smiling on Child when the heavens opened to deliver some typical Scottish weather, but it had eased by the time she took to the track and Spencer was not affected.
There was English silver too, courtesy of a rather unexpected source in the long jump.
Shara Proctor had been the one expected to challenge for the gold, but her hopes were ended by a thigh problem.
And i nstead 20-year-old Jazmin Sawyers, a former bobsleigh medallist at the Winter Youth Olympics competing at her first major Championships, seized her chance.
And she sealed it in dramatic fashion with her final jump of the competition, upgrading from bronze thanks to a personal best leap of 6.54m, which was only two centimetres off gold.
Sawyers, who clearly enjoyed the Hampden atmosphere, could scarcely comprehend her achievement, saying: "At the start of the year winning a Commonwealth medal was a pipe dream. Now I've actually won one I can't believe it.
"There has been no pressure on me - nobody had me in for a medal - it was very much for me to go out and enjoy it.
"Everyone that knows me has told me to go out and enjoy it, because that's when I jump my best.
"There's no point being serious and focused - it doesn't work for me. I have got to be smiling and bouncing around.
"The way I came from third to second gives me a lot of confidence."
Elsewhere, Danny Talbot finished seventh in the men's 200m as hot favourite Warren Weir, Usain Bolt's training partner, had to settle for silver behind fellow Jamaican Rasheed Dwyer, while Niall Flannery was fourth in the 400m hurdles.
Jessica Judd, the 19-year-old from Essex, produced a fine display of front-running in the pouring rain to win her 800m semi-final in 2:02.26.
Home favourite Lynsey Sharp and England's Jenny Meadows also made it through to Saturday's final as fastest losers after finishing fourth and fifth in the other semi.
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