Commonwealth Games: Adam Peaty wins first 50m Commonwealth title

Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

Adam Peaty says he has his “spark” back after powering to a first Commonwealth 50m breaststroke title in what he says is his final race at the Games.

Having missed out on a 100m medal on Sunday as he recovers from a broken foot, the English swimmer had said he was “not bothered” about adding the shorter title to his collection.

That did not appear to be the case as he thrashed the water in celebration.

“I had two options this morning – I either fight or don’t fight,” he said.

“Everyone who knows me, knows I fight.”

Peaty certainly looked ready to fight as he entered the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, beating his chest twice before raising his hand to acknowledge the goosebump-inducing noise from the crowd.

The 27-year-old jumped up and down behind his block, before eventually the shouts of “come on Peaty” subsided and silence fell.

Initially, after touching first in 26.76 seconds, Peaty only gave an understated nod of his head.

Before the final, he had said “you back a lion into a corner, they’re going to bite”. He looked every bit the king of the pool as his celebrations sprang to life and he climbed on the lane rope to roar at the crowd.

It was a fairly comfortable victory in the end too. Australian silver medallist Sam Williamson was 0.21 seconds back, with Scotland’s Ross Murdoch – who secretly retired in December before returning to swimming – taking bronze in 27.32 seconds.

Peaty said after his 100m that he had lost his spark in the last two years and needed to take a long break before turning his attention to a third Olympic title at the 2024 Games.

The crowd’s response to his victory may go some way to helping him fall back in love with the sport and he repaid their applause by throwing his cap and goggles into the stands.

“That means so much to me, because what I have been through the last five years,” Peaty said.

“I lost my spark towards the beginning of the week and I have it back now. A lot of people have got to understand that I reached the bottom of the bottom yesterday and to bring myself up with the crowd in my own mind and that is the result.”

Later, as he received his medal on the podium and lapped up the adoration of the Sandwell crowd, that spark had returned to his eyes and the smile to his face.

Peaty said he “can retire now” after completing his collection of Commonwealth titles, but added that he was “looking forward to resetting” and training over the winter.

“I am so glad I got that loss earlier in the week because these wins feel so much more alive and so much better,” he concluded.

Williams claims backstroke gold

Peaty’s was not the first English gold on the penultimate night of swimming in Birmingham – as earlier on, Brodie Williams passed compatriot Luke Greenbank on the last length of the 200m backstroke to take the title.

Greenbank had his head in his hands as Williams celebrated, but the pair then embraced as the home crowd cheered.

Laura Stephens brought more joy for the hosts with 200m butterfly silver in the next race and James Guy continued the rush of medals for England with joint silver in a thrilling 100m butterfly final.

Teenager Josh Liendo – the first black Canadian swimmer to win world short course gold in 2021 – took gold in in 51.24 seconds, ahead of 200m bronze medallist Guy and Australia’s Matthew Temple, with South African Chad le Clos fourth.

England’s James Hollis won bronze in the 100m butterfly S10, in which Australia’s Col Pearse won gold, and the hosts ended the night with a mixed 4x100m medley bronze.

Australia’s Bradley Woodward took men’s 200m backstroke silver and South African Pieter Coetze claimed bronze.

In the women’s 200m butterfly, Australia’s Elizabeth Dekkers claimed gold in two minutes 7.26 seconds – 0.64 seconds ahead of Stephens – and compatriot Brianna Throssell took bronze.

Ben Proud – champion in the 50m butterfly – qualified fastest for the men’s 50m freestyle final in 21.63 seconds, with Lewis Burras also qualifying.

Wales’ Medi Harris, Northern Ireland’s Danielle Hill and England’s Lauren Cox reached the 50m backstroke final.

In the 100m freestyle, Emma McKeon became the joint most-decorated Commonwealth athlete of all time alongside South Africa’s Le Clos as a bronze took her medal tally to 18.

Fellow Australian Mollie O’Callaghan won that race and Shayna Jack took silver.

Lara van Niekerk claimed a comfortable win in the women’s 100m breaststroke with fellow South African Tatjana Schoenmaker taking silver and Australia’s Chelsea Hodges bronze.

Australia had time for three more golds before the night was through.

Jasmine Greenwood won the 200m individual medley SM10 and for the fifth time in the Games, they claimed all three medals in a swimming event.

Ariarne Titmus smashed the Commonwealth Games record of eight minutes 18.11 seconds in the 800m freestyle, winning in 8:13.59, with fellow Australians Kiah Melverton and Lani Pallister were second and third respectively.

They then continued their domination of the relays – in which they have taken all six possible golds – by winning the mixed 4x100m medley.

Source link