Nikki Hamblin completed a memorable Commonwealth Games by grabbing a hard-earned silver medal in the 800m today.
Hamblin ran courageously to earn a silver medal in the 1500m a few days ago, and her effort today was just as brave.
Indian Tintu Luka set a scorching pace and stretched out the field, but Hamblin stayed calm and hugged the pole line.
Finally, coming off the final bend she kicked for home. It was no Snell-like finishing burst, but she had enough strength to muscle her way through the field into second. Her time was 2min 00.05s, just a hair behind the winner, Kengan Nancy Langat.
I didnt know what would happen coming off the final bend, she said. I thought the Indian would come back. I wasnt sure about the Kenyans. I fought all the way down the straight and got the silver.
Hamblin was ill after her qualifying race yesterday, and said she had suffered a touch of Delhi Belly.
I was a little worried about that this morning, but you have to put it out of your mind and focus on the race.
I just wanted to be calm and patient out there.
The 22-year-old has performed above herself at these games. She is more of a 1500m-3000m runner, so to earn a medal in the 800m was exceptional.
Meanwhile defending mens 1500m champion Nick Willis breezed through his heat to qualify for the final.
Willis, the 2008 Olympic 1500m silver medallist, is one of the most experienced middle-distance runners about, and he showed that today, doing just enough to finish fourth in his heat and gain an automatic final place. He was timed at 3min 42.47s.
In the other 1500m heat, which was much quicker, fellow New Zealander Adrian Blincoe had to contend with a hotter pace. Hed like to have finished in the top four, but was placed fifth and, as it turned out, still advanced comfortably to the final as the fastest loser. His time was 3min 41.54s.
Willis said he wanted his race to be as slow as possible. I didnt worry about the guys up the front. I had fun out there, he said.
I only got here a couple of days ago and I just wanted to get into the meet. I was trying not to get too excited out there. Ill be giving it everything tomorrow night.Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Nikki Hamblin Athletics