Commonwealth Games: Sarah Vasey outshines club mate Peaty with gold

• City of Derby swimmer beat Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson into second
• Club-mate Adam Peaty breezes into 100m breaststroke final

Adam Peaty rarely finds himself eclipsed by anyone, let alone another swimmer from the same club, but he was forced to surrender top billing to Sarah Vasey for one night as she added to England’s gold medal haul in the pool.

Peaty will have his moment in the spotlight after breezing through to Saturday’s 100m breaststroke final but the City of Derby swimming club’s lesser known export Vasey has paved the way to glory. The 21-year-old betrayed no hint of first-time nerves as she became the 50m breaststroke champion on her Commonwealth Games debut, to give England their fifth medal in the pool.

Vasey won in 30.60sec beating Alia Atkinson, of Jamaica, into second with Leiston Pickett, of Australia, completing the podium. “I’m feeling really good, it’s pretty mental,” Vasey said. “This time last year I won my first British title, now I’m Commonwealth champion – it’s crazy.”

Inspiration had arrived the evening before when her room-mate in the athletes’ village, Aimee Willmott, returned with her own gold medal to show off. “When she came back I saw her medal and was like: ‘I want one of those,’” Vasey said. “The 50 was a bonus event for me. All my training’s more geared towards the 100, because that’s the Olympic event. But watching in the stands, that was what got me going. I just wanted to be a part of it.”

An unexpected gold for James Wilby in the 200m breaststroke had proved particularly emotional.

“James is just a really nice guy,” Vasey said. “He always seems to be just off it. He smashed his PB last night and I cried like a baby. I was an emotional wreck. It’s nice when you see how hard someone is working and they finally get the glory for what they have done.”

In the absence of the recently retired Usain Bolt, Peaty is one of the international stars at these Games and organisers must have been hoping he could produce a fireworks moment by improving on his 100m breaststroke world record of 57.1sec. That seemed unlikely as he progressed to the final in 58.59, a way outside his best but still made him the fastest qualifier.

The reigning Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth champion insisted he was determined to put on a show. “It’s what I’m built for,” Peaty said. “I welcome that with open arms, whatever the weather. That’s what Mel trains me to do. I’m pretty confident we can get something fast.

“Everyone’s beatable. I want to defend my titles for four years and that’s what I’ve come here to do. I haven’t come here to go really fast because that’s not in our plan. I want to peak in worlds, I want to peak in Olympics. This is the kind of year where I turn up, defend those titles and go home and enjoy the process. I don’t want to look back at my career and think: ‘Bloody hell, I took it way too seriously.”

England’s women took silver behind Canada in the gymnastics team event. Canada secured gold by finishing 1.25 points ahead of the inexperienced team of Kelly Simm, Alice Kinsella, Georgia-Mae Fenton, Lucy Stanhope and Taeja James.

The selection of the team, which were decimated by the withdrawals of Claudia Fragapane, Ellie Downie and the Olympic medalist Amy Tinkler, has proved controversial. Charlie Fellows, a long-time member of the squad was overlooked despite winning medals at the British championships, something British Gymnastics attributed to other athletes having better long-term potential. There were, however, some fine individual performances, with Fenton and James qualifying in first place for the individual uneven bars and floor finals respectively.


Martha Kelner on the Gold Coast

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