Asher-Smith and Hughes impress over 200m; Proctor leads long jump qualifying

Dina Asher-Smith
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Dina Asher-Smith improved her season's best to 22.44 in the semifinals of the 200m at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast

European 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith made it safely through to yet another major championships final on the fourth day of athletics at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

After a handful of surefire medal prospects failed to materialise for Team England over the last two evening sessions, Asher-Smith looks in form to add to the tally tomorrow evening after improving her season’s best to 22.44. She finished a comfortable second in the first semifinal behind Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson who stopped the clock at a lifetime best of 22.28.

But the field Asher-Smith faces tomorrow night will be arguably as strong as the World Championships final in London last year when she finished fourth. Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo from the Bahamas sauntered to a 22.48 clocking in the second semifinal with Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson from Jamaica also qualifying in 22.95.

There will also be medal prospects in the men’s 200m final as Zharnel Hughes - a 20.02 performer at his very best - won his semifinal in 20.37 while Northern Ireland’s Leon Reid also qualified for the final with a 20.61 clocking.

Former world silver medallist Shara Proctor was back in form as she led the long jump qualifying with a season’s best of 6.89m in still air with her opening jump. Cyprus’ Nektaria Panagi also surpassed the automatic qualifying distance with 6.63m while European medallist Jazmin Sawyers and Lorraine Ugen qualified with 6.47m and 6.42m respectively.

Courtney wins 1500m bronze; Doyle opens campaign with sub-55 clocking

There is no better time than a major championships final to set a lifetime best and Wales’ Melissa Courtney shaved more than two seconds off her best ever time to win a surprise bronze medal in the 1500m.

In one of the most competitive events on the track, Courtney - who ran the first leg of Great Britain's gold medal-winning team at the inaugural mixed relay at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin last December - improved from 4:05.82 to 4:03.44, fighting off Australia's Linden Hall in the last 150 metres. 

Reigning world and Olympic champion Caster Semenya from South Africa won gold in a championship record of 4:00.71 with Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech taking the bronze in 4:03.09.

Former European 400m hurdles champion Eilidh Doyle has been a medallist for Scotland at the last two Commonwealth Games and after a confidence-boosting indoor season which was capped off with a bronze medal at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, Doyle applied that flat speed to the hurdles with a season’s opener of 54.80 to win her heat.

The fastest qualifier was Jamaica’s Janieve Russell with a world-leading time of 54.01.

Cyprus’ Olympic finalist Milan Trajkovic just missed out on a medal in the 110m hurdles final on Tuesday evening, finishing fourth in 13.42 and just four-hundredths adrift of the podium.

Reigning world and European indoor champion Andrew Pozzi clattered through the first flight of barriers and couldn’t get back into contention for the medals, finishing sixth in 13.53 as Jamaica’s Ronald Levy won in 13.19.