Claire Allen and Rhian Turnbull attended the Glasgow Commonwealth Games to cover the women's and disability sports events for Support through Sport UK. Below are some excerpts from their Commonwealth diary ...
'Miles: 600+, Trains: 8, Buses: 7, Days: 4, Event Sessions: 9, Photos: 700+, Sports: 4…Commonwealth Games: Priceless'
Event 1: netball
The first event that we attended was the netball; specifically Northern Ireland versus New Zealand in Groups A’s Preliminary Round. At this point in the competition, both teams had already played two games (New Zealand beating Malawi and Scotland, Northern Ireland losing to Malawi and Jamaica). So New Zealand looked to have the upper hand. New Zealand fielded a very strong team; Vice-captain Laura Langman playing Centre, Catherine Latu - Goal Shooter. Both were extremely dominant in their respective positions.
Northern Ireland stormed the start of the first quarter with some really strong play, consistently managing to win the ball and intercept the New Zealand attack. However, New Zealand soon found their stride and the quarter ended 8-19 in New Zealand’s favour.
New Zealand came out fiercely in the second quarter, scoring within seconds of the opening whistle. They dominated play and stretched out their lead to 15-40 by half time.
The third quarter saw Nordina Masters of Northern Ireland play a fantastic spatial game from her Goal Defence position. She was a key factor in the reduction of New Zealand goals. However, New Zealand took a time out to regroup and then were all guns ablazing again, proving why they were the defending Commonwealth Champions. The score was 21-57 at the end of the quarter.
By this point, New Zealand had managed 66 shots on goal, compared to Northern Ireland's 31. However, as a spectator, Northern Ireland appeared to be playing better netball, with strong passes and great use of space. However, New Zealand's pace and accuracy resulted in a full-time score of 29-78, New Zealand.
Event 2: athletics
The athletics were held at Hampden Park and the arena really did provide the ultimate Games atmosphere.
We caught a number of events, including:
*The men’s F42/F44 (= athletes who are single above knee amputees or single below knee amputees) discuss final, featuring Olympic Champion and World Record Holder Aled Davies and England’s Dan Greaves. The thrilling competition saw Greaves, nicknamed ‘Discuss Dan,’ take gold by 11 clear points, with Welshman Aled Davies claiming silver and Nigerian Richard Okigbazi, who threw a personal best, bronze.
*Round 1 of the women’s T11/T12 (= athletes will have no light perception in either eye, or can perceive shapes up to 2/60) 100 metres. We were excited to see Scotland’s Libby Clegg in action, who ran a world leading time of 12.23 seconds. Season's bests were also achieved by Welsh woman Tracey Hinton and Johanna Katjikuru, Lahja Ishitile and Anna Kambinda of Namibia..
*The men’s T37 classification (= athletes with movement and coordination problems on one half of their body) 100 metres rounds, in which there were many personal bests.
*Round 1 of the women’s 1500 metres, which saw a season's best for England's Hannah England and a Commonwealth Games Record for Hellen Onsando Obiri.
Whilst at the athletics, Rhian and I had the pleasure of meeting Lord Sebastian Coe.
Event 3: gymnastics
We caught the women’s team finals and also the individual qualifications.
The England women’s team comprised Rebecca Downie, Claudia Fragapane, Ruby Harrold, Kelly Simm and Hannah Whelan, who were all also competing in the individual qualification rounds.
Having not won gold in the team event since Victoria 1994 (Australia had won gold at every Games since 1998), the England ladies were faring well at the start of the day.
Glasgow saw Bethany Dikau competing for the Cayman Islands. This was the first time that the Cayman Islands had ever had anyone competing in the gymnastics at the Commonwealth Games.
The English women put up a fantastic performance to take the team gold.
Event 4: more netball
We caught the England / Trinidad and Tobago game, in which England dominated right from the start, increasing their lead as each quarter passed. The final score was 70-24, England, and it was fantastic to see the England ladies in action and playing so well.
Event 5: hockey
The Glasgow National Hockey Centre is located on Glasgow Green, right by the River Clyde, a lovely location for the hockey. The Centre was constructed specifically for the games but opened in 2013 and has been used for competitions such as the 2014 Champions Challenge and the Men's and Women’s Four Nations Cup. After the Games, the stadium will become the home ground for Rottenrow Hockey Club.
We caught the England / Scotland Ladies match, each team competing for a place in the semi-finals.
England fielded an extremely strong team, with Kate Richardson-Walsh as Captain, Maddie Hinch in goal and Alex Danson leading the attack.
England attacked well from the start and took an early lead thanks to a fantastic strike from Alex Danson, which also marked the 100thgoal of the competition. A second goal from Susannah Townsend saw England further their lead to 2-0. Scotland were not backing down though and, as the game neared half time, a penalty corner and a shot from Scotland’s Nikki Kidd saw them set the score to 2-1 at half-time.
The second half saw both sides battle to keep posession of the ball; both teams appearing to struggle to keep the ball in the opposing D for shots on goal. Scotland won three penalty corners - however each were cleared by the England defence. The full-time score was 2-1, England, and progression to the semi-finals.
If we were to sum up our coverage of the Commonwealths? The trip of a lifetime, which has given us some unforgettable memories.