It was a day for the history books for England's Nick Miller and Tom Bosworth as the athletics programme opened on Sunday (8) at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Miller won hammer gold with a world-leading mark and championship record of 80.26m as he became the first Brit to surpass the 80m mark while Bosworth broke his national record in winning silver in the 20km race walk.
Two British records on the first day of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
Nick Miller won the hammer with 80.26m and Tom Bosworth won silver in the 20km race walk in 1:19:38. #GC2018Athletics pic.twitter.com/ehTz0m88AR
— European Athletics (@EuroAthletics) April 8, 2018
It has been quite a few weeks for Miller, who had already improved his British record at the Stanford Invitational last month when he reached 78.29m and has a golden glow to his success.
The 2015 European U23 champion was delighted to be back on top of the podium and happy to have gone further than his coach, Sweden’s Tore Gustafsson. “The best part is that I beat my coach. We joked for years that I’d throw over his best (80.14m) and when 80.26m came up, it was one up on him,” he told Athletics Weekly after the competition.
His fourth round effort broke the championship record of 77.53m which Australian Stuart Rendell set in Melbourne 2006 but the significance of the distance will not be lost on Miller.
Going over 80m not only strengthens his position as the world leader at this early stage of the season but will give him reams of confidence going into the summer, when Berlin co-hosts the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow.
Last summer only two Europeans broke the 80m mark: the Polish duo of Pawel Fajdek (83.44m) and Wojciech Nowicki (80.47m). This performance will put Miller in a with a big chance of a medal in Germany in August.
It was in Glasgow four years ago when he won his first major senior medal with silver in 72.99m and this title shows the level of his improvement since 2014 - and his ability to pull a major throw out of the bag when needed.
After a slow start to the final with 63.60m in the first round followed by a foul, Miller needed to produce something close to 70m in the third round which he did.
His third round throw of 76.48m would have been enough for victory but Miller wanted more and with a good rhythm, he launched the implement further than ever before to win gold from Australian Matty Denny with 74.88m and Scotland’s Mark Dry with 73.12m.
“It is just brilliant," said Miller. "Things got a little more serious last year. I got married and that changed my perspective on things. Everything seems to be slotting in to place and this result is the end of a lot of effort over the past year.”
Having been disqualified on home soil at last year’s IAAF World Championships in London, Bosworth responded in style in the 20km walk.
With the sun beaming down in the first event of the athletics programme, Bosworth won silver in 1:19:38, four seconds behind Australian winner Dane Bird-Smith with Kenya’s Samuel Gathimba third in 1:19:51.
Roared on by the home crowd, Bird-Smith made a break on the last lap but Bosworth came back with 500 metres left before the Australian put in a few big strides to settle it.
But Bosworth, who broke his own British record by a superb 35 seconds, was more than happy with silver. “Today was redemption for me. I wanted to walk technically well, be strong, be competitive. I knew if I could do that I would end up on the podium,” he said.
“I am co-captain of the England team which is a real honour for me so I’m really pleased to have gone out there and led from the front.”