BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — English swimmer Adam Peaty turned a testing Commonwealth Games around with a resounding triumph in the 50-meter breaststroke final on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Peaty, who was beaten for the first time in eight years in the 100-meter breaststroke on Sunday, had vowed to bounce back after a loss he described as devastating.
He did so in style, winning the goal medal by recording a time of 26.76 to beat Australian Sam Williamson by .21 of a second, with Scotland’s Ross Murdoch claiming the bronze medal.
Peaty, who missed the world championships in Budapest in June with a broken foot, revealed last week he was struggling for motivation after a decade of success.
But the victory clearly meant a great deal to the three-time Olympic gold medalist. It is the only major international event he had not claimed.
He had considered skipping the event, but Murdoch told Peaty he’d regret it “for life” if he walked away.
“After the 100-meter, I was the lowest of the low,” Peaty said. “I had something that was almost guaranteed taken away from me and I took it for granted, I think.
“But I knew this was going to be my last Commonwealths so today was the day to do it. I’ve completed the whole collection now. It is a sweet victory for me.”
Australian swimmer Emma McKeon, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, has become the most successful Commonwealth Games athlete after another strong night in the pool.
The 28-year-old McKeon drew level with South African swimmer Chad le Clos and shooters Michael Gault and Phil Adams by winning an 18th medal with a bronze in the 100-meter freestyle.
She set a new mark of 19 when she claimed her fifth gold medal for the Birmingham games as part of Australia’s mixed 4×100-meter medley relay team. She has won 13 gold medals over three games.
Amid a dominant gymnastics display from England, there were two standout male performers.
Jake Jarman became the most successful English male gymnast at a single Games when he added a fourth gold medal to his haul on Tuesday, this time in the vault.
Competing in his first major senior competition, the 20-year-old Jarman also claimed golds in the all-round, floor and team events in the best performance from an Englishman in any sport in 24 years.
“You can be under just as much pressure at a smaller competition as well as a competition this big,” Jarman said. “But to be able to come here and enjoy it and produce an amazing result. I am absolutely honored.”
Jarman’s performance was arguably overshadowed by the courage shown by teammate Joe Fraser, who managed to overcome recent injury and illness to win three gold medals.
Three years after winning a world championship on the parallel bars, the 23-year-old Fraser became the first English gymnast to win the event in the Commonwealth Games.
What makes Fraser’s success more extraordinary is that he limped into the athletes’ village before the Games wearing a moon boot after breaking his foot two weeks ago.
Just one month earlier, he ruptured his appendix. But inspired by competing in front of his home crowd, Fraser delivered world class performances throughout the competition.
“We have got Lion on our leotard and our chest, so I guess I feel pride,” he said.
India enjoyed a successful day, which included its first-ever gold medal in lawn bowls.
The Indian quartet of Lovely Choubey, Pinki, Nayanmoni Saikia and Rupa Rani Tirkey defeated South Africa 17-10 in the Women’s Fours event.
Tirkey said the foursome awoke motivated by the opportunity to create history for their nation.
“I didn’t get adequate sleep last night because I was nervous whether we would win the gold or lose the gold,” she said. “Thoughts like these keep swirling in your head all night when you play a game of this magnitude.
“We woke up with the mindset that this is a new day, a new beginning, and that we have the opportunity to do something very special. We are glad to have been able to achieve that.”
India’s men’s table tennis team defended the gold medal it won on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2018 by defeating Singapore 3-1 in the final.
Harmeet Desai partnered Sathiyan Gnanasekaran to win and then proved too strong for Zhe Yu Clarence Chew 11-8, 11-5, 11-6 in the third singles to clinch victory for his nation.
“This time, it was my time to prove it, to prove my worth and I’m happy I could win this match,” he said.
Earlier, Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica confirmed she was the sprinter to beat in the Commonwealth Games with a strong 100-meter heat run on Tuesday.
A recent world championships bronze medalist in Oregon, Thompson-Herah progressed to the semifinals in 10.99 seconds by winning the second of seven heats.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist in the event finished behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson in a Jamaican sweep of the 100 in the United States.
Thompson-Herah, the co-fastest qualifier for the semifinals alongside Nigeria’s Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha, is confident she can reclaim her best form in Birmingham.
“Whatever time I put together, I will work my way back up to the top,” she said. (My plans) are to have fun, smile, breath and just run.”
Fraser-Pryce is in Birmingham but has opted against competing in the Games. She is preparing for the remainder of the season with her coach Reynaldo Walcott, who has other athletes competing in Birmingham.
The women’s 100 semifinals and final will be on Wednesday at Alexander Stadium.
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