Belfast Telegraph

Commonwealth Games: McGuigan takes it to next level on an emotional day

Dempsey dedicates his progress to late coach

By Brian Hill

Dempsey McGuigan of Finn Valley, who qualified yesterday in controversial style for today's Games hammer final, paid tribute to his deceased coach for being responsible for all his success in the event.

The 20-year-old Irish U23 champion responded to the biggest day of his athletics life by throwing 66.16 metres, his fourth best ever distance.

It followed his PB of 66.62 metres in May at Baton Rouge in the US. Yesterday’s result qualified him in 11th place with the first 12 progressing to the final. Nicholas Millar of England led the qualification distances with 72.76 metres.

Dempsey said: “I am over the moon with my performance. It is all down to my coach Alan Bertram, who passed away last year. I just wish he was here to see this.

“I was anxious at the start of the competition, particularly as my parents and five brother and sisters are all here to see me. It's just great that everything has worked out well and I am looking forward to the final.”

There was controversy in McGuigan's qualification group when Scottish athlete Chris Bennett was permitted a fourth throw, while all his competitors were restricted to the normal three.

This was because officials thought that Bennett's first attempt was his practice throw, which each competitor is allowed. The throw was therefore not measured by officials and as a result Bennett was allowed an extra throw.

Athletics NI protested to the field referee because at that stage there was a serious doubt as to whether McGuigan would qualify for the final seeing as the Scotsman's fourth throw had the capacity to exclude him.

The NI protest was rejected by the field referee, but in the end McGuigan's best throw was sufficient.

Decathlete Peter Glass made a solid start yesterday morning to his 10-event competition when he finished fourth in his 100 metres event in a time of 11.20 seconds.

This was only 0.02 seconds slower than his PB, which he set in Arona, Spain in May.

The time placed Glass in 10th overall at that stage with 817 points. The race was won by David Guest of Wales in 10.95 seconds.

The North Down athlete said: “I was really happy with my start, which has been good all year. While I was the fastest out of the blocks, I did tighten up a bit in the last 20 metres when I was caught by two athletes. I am glad to get the first event out of the way as I was really nervous beforehand.”

Glass then went on to equal his season's best in the long jump with 6.74 metres. His shot put throw of 13.69 metres placed him in 13th position.

He followed this up with another season's best in the high jump of 1.93 metres. Glass then clocked 52.52 seconds to secure third place in the 400 metres, where he led until the final 50 metres.

Ireland's top sprinter Amy Foster finished fifth out of eight in a world class 100 metres semi-final field in a time of 11.54 seconds, her fourth fastest of the season.

The 25-year-old Newtownards woman was again fastest out of her blocks and while she fought to the line, she got isolated being in adjacent lanes to the fastest women who qualified. The race was won by Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare in 10.93 seconds.

Foster commented: “You can work off people close to you but that didn't happen. I tried to stay relaxed but the semi -finals are a massive step up.

“My race was much better than Delhi in 2010 and I am delighted to have made three major championships this year. I am looking forward to the Europeans in Zurich next month.”

Meanwhile, Kemar Bailey-Cole blazed to the Commonwealth 100 metres title as England's Adam Gemili took silver.

The 22-year-old Jamaican recovered from a poor start to power through and finish in 10.00 seconds, with Gemili just edging out Nickel Ashmeade to take second in 10.10 seconds.

It is the first major senior medal of the Londoner's career.

He dropped to his knees as the big screen confirmed he had dipped to cross the line 0.02 seconds ahead of Ashmeade.

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