Jessica Ennis may not be here, but England have supplied another young talent to make an impact on the Commonwealth heptathlon competition in the exuberant form of Louise Hazel, who won gold here tonight in a personal-best laden personal best score of 6156 points, with team-mate Grace Clements taking bronze.
Greg Rutherford also took the opportunity to make good on his potential as he added silver to gold with an effort of 8.22m, just 8cm short of his British record.
Three successive personal bests had lifted Hazel – who turned 25 on Wednesday – to a 126 points lead over her nearest competitor, Canada’s Jessica Zelinka, as the field toed the line for the final 800 metres event.
A 200m of 24.10sec in the final event of the first day left her in the bronze medal position overnight, and earlier today she won the long jump with 6.44m and the javelin with 44.42m.
It was champion form – and the Birchfield Harrier saw it through as she kept sufficiently in contact with Zelinka, who won the 800m in 2min 15.26sec, to leave herself with a 56-point margin of victory, clocking 2:20.33.
“To come away with the gold is more than I ever could have expected,” said Hazel, who came 14th in what was her first World Championship last year.
She added that, going into the 800m, she had kept repeating what Clements’s coach, Julie Hollman, had said to her.
“She told me ‘You’re cool, you are calm and you are collected.’ I kept saying that to myself in my head all the way down the back straight and it worked.”
Hazel, whose coach back in Birmingham is Fuzz Ahmed, had spent the previous six weeks at the Doha preparation camp working with UKA jumps coach Aston Moore.
“When I was in Doha things were going so well, I did think ‘This could be on’,” she said. “I didn’t expect to be in such a strong position overnight.
“Before the long jump I just thought ‘Come on then, what can you pull out of your bag?’ And it was a huge 6.44m. ‘Come On!’”
Clements secured her place on the podium by finishing a couple of strides behind the Canadian in 2:16.06 to end ahead of Peaches Roach of Jamaica with 5819 points. Zelinka earned silver with 6100.
“I knew if I could hang on in the long jump and get that out of the way then javelin and 800m are my strong events,” said Clements, a 26-year-old receptionist from Cambridge.
“The hardest thing about the 800m was not getting ahead of myself and I had to stop myself thinking about a medal. Next I’ve got to improve my score to get up there into other major events.”
Rutherford, a European silver medallist four years ago at the age of 19, was unable to compete in this year’s Europeans because of injury – which has been the story of his career so far.
But last night was an up rather than a down as he produced his best jump of the year to finish 8cm behind Australia’s gold medallist, Fabrice Lapierre.
“That feels absolutely fantastic,” said Rutherford, who had punched the air in triumph after his effort had taken him past the early leader, Ignisious Gaisah, who eventually took bronze with 8.12.
“I’ve had a turbulent season and this is a great way to finish it off. I feel like I’m falling to pieces at the moment but that has rounded the season off nicely and I can continue the hard work in the winter.”
Chris Tomlinson also felt like he was falling to pieces after requiring a scan and medical treatment on the ankle he injured in qualifying, and he left the final after recording three no jumps.
“Hats off to the medical team, without them I wouldn’t have got out here tonight. I have no regrets whatsoever, I had the chance to compete and I took it. I’m a gambling sort of man but it just didn’t pay off tonight.”
Laura Whittingham, a 24-year-old engineer from Barnsley, finished one place off a javelin medal in what was her first major international competition won in a Games record of 62.34m by South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen.
“That was really, really good,” said Whittingham, whose best throw was 58.61. “It was nerve racking but I’m pleased I managed to get a good throw out. It’s been a breakthrough season for me and I’ve got to continue that now.”
Rebecca Peake claimed fifth place with 16.28m in a shot put won in a Games record of 20.47m by New Zealand’s world and Olympic champion Valerie Adams. Eleanor Gatrell ended her competition in seventh with 15.23m.
Samson Oni and Tom Parsons both left a high jump competition, won with 2.32m by Donald Thomas of the Bahamas, managing bests of 2.23.
Conrad Williams finished sixth in a 400m final won by Kenya’s Mark Muttai, who clocked 45.44, 0.02s ahead of Australia’s Sean Wroe. Williams recorded 45.88.
Helen Clitheroe finished one place outside the medals in a 3000m steeplechase which finished, predictably enough, with three Kenyans in the medal positions, of whom Micah Cheywa took the gold in 9:40.96.
Clitheroe clocked 9:56.37, with Tina Brown taking seventh place in 10:13.34
Abi Oyepitan (23.86), Laura Turner (23.99) and Joice Maduaka (23.75), moved through to tomorrow’s 200m semi-finals.
Christian Malcolm (20.93), Marlon Devonish (20.90) and Leon Baptiste (20.68) all won their second round heats to reach their 200m semis.
Darren St Clair reached tomorrow’s 800m final as he finished fourth in his semi-final in 1:46.92, but Andrew Osagie and Niall Brooks failed to progress.