England defeated New Zealand in a shoot-out to stay on track for a first Commonwealth Games Gold for women’s hockey in Birmingham.
Isabelle Petter and Hannah Martin scored in the shootout when goalkeeper Maddie Hinch refused to be beaten with a series of brilliant saves.
The two sides could not be separated in 60 minutes of intense hockey, playing a goalless draw, just as they had in Australia’s bronze medal game four years ago.
On that occasion, New Zealand won the shootout to advance to the gold medal match, and the Black Sticks also beat England in the World Cup last month with a 3-1 win.
Hinch said: “This is fairytale for us, to come here and be in the final.
“This is a very important step for us to believe and realize what we are capable of. It was a great semi-final, I am so happy for the team.”
Asked about penalties, Hinch added: “I absolutely love it. You have to, you know it’s going to be a tough gig.
“As goalkeepers, you often pick the ball out of the net, it’s quite ruthless.
“These are the moments to really show the position, and I’m trying to inspire as many people as possible to wear these weird looking outfits and be the hero for a few minutes.”
Ekimova wins England’s first-ever rhythmic gymnastics gold
Marfa Ekimova won England’s first Commonwealth Games gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics when she took the all-around title at Arena Birmingham.
The 17-year-old top scorer on hoop and clubs to a total of 112,300, narrowly ahead of silver medalist Anna Sokolova from Cyprus.
It was Ekimova’s second medal at the Birmingham Games after winning a team bronze medal along with Saffron Severn and Alice Leaper on Thursday’s opening day of the competition.
That bronze was England’s first rhythmic gymnastics medal since they also won a team bronze at the 2010 Delhi Games.
Ekimova said: “It’s amazing and a dream come true. It was a roaring crowd and everything a gymnast could ever wish for.
“I hope kids have watched and I hope to have inspired them to want to become rhythmic gymnasts. I love performing and people can enjoy my performance and my passion, that means everything.”
Ekimova has more chances to increase her medals on Saturday as she has qualified for all but one of the individual apparatus finals in hoop, ball and ribbon.
Laugher claims second gold
Jack Laugher was full of credit after sealing his second Commonwealth Games gold medal by winning the men’s synchronized three-meter springboard event with partner Anthony Harding.
In what is a relatively new partnership between the pair, they led Friday’s standings with 438.33, winning by a whopping 61.56 points.
For Harding, this is his first medal on his Commonwealth debut and the 22-year-old was delighted to finally have the chance to show what he can do.
He said: “I’m over the moon with it, I mean I did a pretty good gig, I could have done a little better, I know Jack might be a little disappointed, but I’ve worked so hard for this.
“I’ve waited many years, I’ve looked at him” [Laugher] at three other Commonwealths, three Olympics, so it’s been a while for me to get on this kind of podium and he’s been a huge help.”
Laugher entered the competition with considerable experience in the discipline having won in Glasgow 2014 and the Gold Coast 2018 along with partner Chris Mears.
He also won gold in the one-meter individual springboard on Thursday and has the chance to add a third in the three-meter individual springboard on Saturday, but was encouraged by Friday’s performance.
“Two in two days, it was great,” Laugher said. “I had a little trouble getting to sleep last night, felt a little worse this morning from wear and tear, but I think I put in a good performance.
“Anthony has done a great job and it was a huge demand to get out here in front of a big crowd at his first Commonwealth Games and execute that consistently and solidly, so it’s a really, really good achievement for a lot of reasons.
“Things have to be improved, things have to get better, but overall I’m very happy with the performance and of course two golds is the best I can ask for.”
Gemili crashes from 200m | Muir reaches another final
Adam Gemili crashed from the 200 meters during the Commonwealth Games. He failed to reach Saturday’s final after running just 20.97 seconds to finish fourth in his semi-final on Friday.
It’s another disappointment for Gemili, who was knocked out of the heats at the World Championships in Eugene last month.
He then initially blamed the media spotlight on his controversial ex-coach Rana Reider, who is under investigation by the US Center for SafeSport after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, for affecting his form and mentality.
The 28-year-old, who lives in Florida, left Reider days before the Games in Birmingham and knows he needs a change.
“I know there have been problems with me this year, it has touched me,” said Gemili, who can still participate in the 4x100m relays on Saturday. “Physically I am fine, but there has been a lot that has affected my training and the mental side for me.
“That’s new this season and I’ve really struggled to get that right. I didn’t know how much difference it really makes. It’s up to me to come home and find some happiness again.”
European champion Zharnel Hughes did qualify for the final and won his semifinal in 20.32 seconds. In the women’s semi-final, Elaine Thompson-Herah continued to win in 22.63 seconds.
Laura Muir is looking for an elusive Commonwealth Games medal after reaching her second final. The Scot finished fifth in her 1500m heat on Friday morning, reaching Sunday’s final at Alexander Stadium.
She ran for four minutes 14.11 seconds as she set her own pace in the morning session in Birmingham, after also reaching the 800m final on Saturday.
A Commonwealth Games medal is the only one missing from Muir’s collection after she finished 11th in the 1500m in 2014 – after being cut – and skipped the Gold Coast four years ago to focus on her veterinary exams.
“This is the last one. If I can get not one but two, that would be very special,” she said.
“It was nice to get the legs moving after Tuesday (800m heat), it feels a long time ago and it’s nice to qualify and save as much energy as possible.”
Scottish teammate Jemma Reekie also qualified along with England’s Katie Snowden and Melissa Courtney-Bryant.
England’s Cindy Sember ran 12.67 seconds to win her heat in the 100m hurdles, while in the long jump Jazmin Sawyers (6.80m), Lorraine Ugen (6.79m) and Abigail Irozuru (6.59m) all made it to the final.
Looking to build on his bronze medal in Eugene, Matt Hudson-Smith won his 400m semifinal in 45.77 seconds to secure his spot in Sunday’s final.
England’s Lizzie Bird also took silver in the 3,000m steeplechase and Naomi Metzger took bronze in the triple jump after a personal best of 14.37m.
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