BIRMINGHAM: Zambian teenager Muzala Samukonga won his nation’s first-ever Commonwealth Games 400m title on Sunday as Sada Williams gave Barbados their first gold in the women’s event on the final day of athletics in Birmingham.
Samukonga, 19, who timed 44.66sec, exited the stadium in a wheelchair after tripping over a low advertising hoarding as he ran to collect his national flag.
England’s Matthew Hudson-Smith, who won bronze in the event at last month’s world championships, was forced to settle for silver.
The 27-year-old had set his hopes on gold but was sanguine after admitting recently that he had attempted suicide last year.
“It’s not the colour I wanted but you have to take the good with the bad,” he said. “If you asked me a year ago would I be able to do this I would have said ‘no’.”
The English athlete, seeing Samukonga crying on the podium during the medals ceremony, put his hand on his shoulder.
Williams outclassed Victoria Ohuruogu, who missed out on emulating her elder sister, 2008 Olympic gold medallist Christine, who won Commonwealth gold in 2006.
Williams, 24, who won bronze at the recent world championships, set a new Games record of 49.90sec, with Ohuruogu taking silver.
“It’s amazing (to be part of the Barbados team),” said Williams. “I am so proud of Jonathan (Jones who won bronze in the men’s 400m).
“I can’t begin to imagine (the reaction back home). Everybody’s probably going crazy right now.”
India also celebrated a historic gold, which adds gloss to a highly successful athletics competition for them in Birmingham.
Eldhose Paul hopped, skipped and jumped into Indian athletics folklore as he delivered their first triple jump title with a best mark of 17.03 metres while team-mate Abdulla Aboobacker Narangolintevida won silver.
India also won bronze in the men’s 10,000m walk. Sandeep Kumar finished third behind Canada’s Evan Dunfee (38min 36.37sec).
“The sporting culture in India is changing,” said the triumphant Paul, who added that athletes were getting more support from sports authorities in the country.
Australia took gold in the women’s javelin.
Recently crowned world champion Kelsey-Lee Barber won with her final throw (64.43m), dashing the dreams of her compatriot Mackenzie Little, with India Annu Rani taking bronze.
World champion and world record holder Tobi Amusan won the women’s 100m hurdles, breaking a 16-year-old Games record as she timed 12.30sec.
The 25-year-old defending champion was trailing behind Jamaica’s Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper but the Nigerian powered past her to ease home.
“To get the win and defend my title means everything to me,” said Amusan, who added even her father had accepted she made the right decision in focusing on her athletics.
“I was more into doing track,” she said. “He got really upset in the end. But he is an amazing man. He is proud of me.”
Devynne Charlton of the Bahamas took silver and England’s Cindy Sember won bronze while Tapper and her compatriot, 2015 world champion Danielle Williams, missed out on medals
The England 4x100m relay teams gave the home crowds something to cheer, winning the men’s race and finishing second behind Nigeria in the women’s event.
Scotland’s Eilish McColgan will be seeking to add 5,000m gold to her 10,000 title in the final session on Sunday evening.
Her team-mate, Laura Muir, bids to win gold in her favourite 1,500m event after taking bronze in Saturday’s 800m.