Belfast Telegraph

Ganiel's marathon effort earns place in history books

By Brian Hill

North Belfast's Gladys Ganiel produced a superb performance in yesterday's Commonwealth Games marathon, finishing 12th in her second best ever time of two hours 40 minutes and 29 seconds.

The 37-year-old lecturer rose to the pressure of the occasion by providing a measured performance from the start in an event which took place in far from ideal conditions.

Ganiel's finishing time equalled the fastest by a Northern Ireland representative in the Commonwealths, sharing the record with Teresa Duffy, who finished fifth in the Manchester Games in 2002.

Ganiel was only 63 seconds slower than her best time in Berlin last September when she ran on a much easier, flatter course in perfect weather conditions.

Commonwealth gold went to Kenya's Flomena Daniel in 2:26.45 with silver going to team-mate Caroline Kilel in 2:27.10. Australia's Jessica Trengove took a surprise bronze in a PB of 2:30.12.

Ganiel said: "I am very happy with that performance, which was my second best ever time. However, I do regard it as better than my Berlin run, where I was timed at 2:39.26, since that course was a lot flatter than Glasgow.

"I went through halfway in 1:18.34, which was taking a bit of a risk as that was very fast for me. However, I knew that the second half would be difficult because of the wind and some hills, not to mention the humid conditions.

"There was no specific plan to run with Hayley Haining (Scotland) but when we were together we decided to work off each other. She helped me at one stage when I went through a bad patch."

There was a major upset in the men's event, where Australia's Michael Shelley, who took silver in Delhi four years ago, battled with African runners throughout the race before breaking clear with two miles remaining.

The 30-year-old received an ecstatic reception at the finish when he broke the tape in a PB of 2:11.15. Long-time joint leader Stephen Chemlany of Kenya had to settle for silver in 2:11.58 followed by Uganda's Abraham Kiplimo, who ran 2:12.23.

While there were mixed fortunes for the Province's sprinters in the first round of the 100 metres, no-one was more delighted than Ireland's top sprinter Amy Foster, who ran a superbly judged race to take second and progress to today's semi-finals.

Amy was the fastest athlete out of her blocks and fought grimly in the last 20 metres with Papua New Guinea's Toea Wisil. The Newtownards girl won with a dip finish in a time of 11.62 seconds. Australia's Melissa Breen took the victory in 11.54 seconds while Wisil was timed at 11.66 seconds.

An overjoyed Amy commented: "I was really pleased with my good start and for once I fought to the line and won a dip finish."

Birchfield's Leon Reid was the second athlete in his first round heat to be disqualified.

The 20-year-old, whose mother is from Belfast, had been running consistently well over the distance this season with a PB of 10.62 seconds. However his specialism is the 200 metres, in which he is the European Junior champion.

Leon said: "I'm disappointed but it is just one of those things. I was probably a bit overly anxious because of the occasion."

Multi-Paralympic champion Jason Smyth failed to make it out of his heat as he finished fifth in what was for him a relatively modest 10.66 seconds. The race was won by Kemar Hyman of the Cayman Islands in 10.20 seconds.

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