Support through Sport UK's Claire is currently out on the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games! She'll be covering the England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man para and women's events, so check out her blog below and keep coming back for updates!
Day 1
It's been a great first day! I was at the women’s hockey and the big surprise was the result between India and Wales. India has been fielding such a strong team and so for the Welsh to defeat them 3-2 was a real credit to the home nation side.
Scotland lost to New Zealand, 6-1 (not unexpected, given New Zealand's ranking). However, the Scots fought bravely and secured a much deserved goal in the fourth quarter.
England started their campaign strongly and attacked with force, keeping South Africa on their toes, chasing all the balls and deflecting any attacks. Goals from Townsend and Balsdon secured a 2-0 victory for Team England.
The home side, Australia, were up last against Canada in a match featuring a lot of equal play from two big, strong sides. In the end, however, it was the Hockeyroos that came out on top with a 1-0 win.
Other highlights from the day included the women’s weightlifting, in which India’s Chanu Saikhom Marabi managed to lift twice her body weight to secure gold (so impressive!) and seeing England’s Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott secure a new world record of 10.609 in the qualification stages of the women’s blind and visually impaired sprint cycling. I can't wait to see the final!
Day 2
What an amazing second day...and so many medals! The only bad news was Northern Ireland losing out to Australia in the netball (94-26) (but the Aussies have such a strong team and they really pushed the game) and England narrowly losing out to Canada in the women’s basketball.
In terms of the other home nations, Wales got their first gold medal of the tournament in the men’s weightlifting and Katie Archibald got a cycling gold for Scotland and set a games record in the 3000m pursuit.
England's Sarah Vasey won gold in the women’s 50m breaststroke and Alice Tai secured gold in the S9 backstroke. In the men's race, compatriot Lewis White took silver. There was then a further gold for the English swimmers thanks to a commanding performance by 16-year-old Ellie Robinson in the S7 50m butterfly.
In other news, there was silver for England in the women's artistic gymnastics and a 5-1 win for the England women in the hockey against Wales.
All in all an amazing day and the home nations are really doing us proud.
I'm off to the velodrome tomorrow for the visually impaired cycling!
Day 3
I spent the day down at the velodrome watching the blind and visually impaired cycling sprints, where the home nations came out in force and really did us proud.
First up was the men’s 200m sprint, which was one of the most exciting sporting events I have ever witnessed.
The Malaysian team set a new Commonwealth Record, but the Welsh pairing of James Ball and Peter Mitchell quickly broke it in a time of 10.022.
Scot Neil Fachie and his partner Matt Rotherham were last to go in the qualifying rounds and Fachie smashed his previous (2014) world record of 9.711 in a time of 9.568. It was a spectacular display of power and was great to have been there to see it. Suffice to say that Fachie and Rotherham then went on to take the gold.
Elsewhere, England’s Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott won the women’s B&VI 1000m time trial and England’s Joe Townsend and Jade Jones both got golds in their respective para triathlon events.
We are just waking up to day 4 and some netball and swimming is on the agenda!
Day 4
Today began with some netball at the Gold Coast Convention Centre. First up was Northern Ireland vs Jamaica and it was a pretty even first half but Jamaica were stronger in the second, winning 78-41. Next to play were the English Roses who faced Uganda. England remained tight and focused throughout the match and their 55-46 win means that their Commonwealth winning streak continues.
Elsewhere, England's women were defeated in the hockey, losing 2-1 to India. An early goal from England captain Alex Danson seemed like a good omen, but the Indians returned play stronger and harder and it just wasn't to be for England today.
In the evening, we headed to the Aquatic Centre in Surfers' Paradise to watch some of the para swimming. The first race we saw was the women’s S9 100m freestyle final in which England's Alice Tai raced hard and came away with a much deserved silver medal in what was a very tight race.
The last para swimming event of the evening was the men’s SM8 200m medley and, although there was no representation from the home nations in this final, it was quite something to see Aussie Jesse Aungles compete, as he absolutely dominated his race.
The Aussies dominated in most of the non-para swimming events - but not in the blue riband 100m freestyle in which the aptly named Duncan Scott, from Scotland, won gold, beating swimming giants Chad le Clos and Kyle Chalmers.
Elsewhere in the games, it was gold for England’s Emily Godley and bronze for Laura Hughes in the women’s 75kg weightlifting, and England gymnast Georgia-Mae Fenton took gold in the women’s uneven bars.
Day 5
It's been an amazing final day for us here on the Gold Coast, with some great sporting action. We can’t wait to see how the rest of the competition pans out; it’s just a shame that we'll be viewing it from the colder climes of England!
This morning we headed over to the athletics stadium to see the women’s 400m and the men’s T54 1500m heats.
In the women's 400m, there were good performances from the home nations; England’s Emily Diamond placing third in the first heat and Scotland’s Zoey Clarke running a phenomenal lap to finish second in the second.
The first T54 1500m heat saw England’s Dillon Labrooy place second and it was first and third for England's Richard Chissario and Nathan Maguire in the second heat, Chissario smashing the existing Commonwealth Games record in a time of 3.05.76.
In the afternoon, we caught the women’s gymnastics beam final in which four of the eight finalists were from the home nations. There were great performances from Wales's Latakia Beven and Maisie Methuen, and England's Kelly Simm secured bronze. The peformance of the day went to England's Alice Kinsella, however, whose routine was original, technically difficult and perfectly executed. Gold.
In total, the home nations brought home nine gymnastics medals.
Elsewhere, England beat Wales 85-31 in the netball and remain undefeated, Welsh woman Hollie Arnold won gold in the F46 javelin with a world record throw of 44.43 and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry brought home silver in the squash.
Thank you so much for following our blog and enjoy the rest of the action from the Games.