Published: 02/08/2022- 18:08
Trending on GB News
Joe Fraser hailed his “wonderkid” team-mate Jake Jarman after the England duo wrapped up their artistic gymnastics campaign with a glittering seven-gold total haul on the concluding day of apparatus finals at the Commonwealth Games.
Jarman’s soaring triumph in the vault final made him the first English athlete to win four gold medals at the same Games since shooter Mick Gault in 1998, whilst Fraser, nursing a fractured foot, added to his previous success with a dominant display on the parallel bars.
A further gold on floor for Alice Kinsella, rebounding from the disappointment of missing out on the podium in the earlier beam final, ensured England would end a hugely successful campaign having claimed 10 of the 14 gold medals on offer.
Underpinning that success was Jarman, a 20-year-old competing in his first major multi-sports event whose two-leap average of 14.916 left him well clear of his team-mate Giarnni Regini-Moran, who took silver with 14.633 on his 24th birthday.
Fraser, himself only 23, said: “Jake is the wonderkid – he’s the future of our sport and I’m so proud of everything he’s achieved.
“It’s just beginning for Jake – the potential the guy has is unmatched, and having him on the team will be a huge asset moving forward.”
Jarman, who had already secured gold medals in team, all-around and floor competitions, reflected on a remarkable surge to prominence, which began when he was effectively talent-spotted by a local coach in a Peterborough park at the age of eight.
“I was a very hyperactive kid and when I was seven or eight I was in the park and a gym coach told my mum ‘you should bring your kid to the local club’,” he said.
“I was just swinging from the monkey-bars. I’d like to think I was good at the monkey-bars.”
Fraser, who also had designs on four gold medals having entered the final day with team and pommel golds in the bag, experienced mixed emotions as he followed his parallel-bars victory – in which Regini-Moran placed second again – by crashing off the horizontal bar midway through his final routine.
Daniel Powell picked up a gold medal in the –73kg judo
Nevertheless, Fraser expressed pride at his performances in front of his home-city crowd, after a torrid build-up which saw him hospitalised with a ruptured appendix before suffering a fractured foot in training that had left his participation at the Games in doubt.
“My belief to get to the Games was always huge,” insisted Fraser. “I truly believed I could do it.
“There were moments I thought I’d be doing less than I hoped, but I’ve managed to do four events in a major competition two weeks after fracturing my foot, which I don’t think many people would be able to do. I’m proud of myself and everyone who helped me get it.”
Kinsella, also from Birmingham, reflected on redemption of sorts just two days after a fall on the beam cost her a chance of winning a coveted all-around medal and left her facing a difficult battle to refocus in time for the individual finals.
Another wobbly beam display left her out of the medals again, but Kinsella returned on floor to wrap up the competition with a score of 13.366, with 20-year-old team-mate Ondine Achampong taking her second silver to go with team gold.
It was an impressive recovery by Kinsella, inconsolable two days earlier, who revealed afterwards she had been having major mental issues with her floor routine on which she has has twice sustained injuries to her ankle.
“Since I rolled my ankle a couple of months ago, I’ve been having panic attacks on the floor almost every day,” Kinsella revealed. “It was definitely hard for me. I did the same thing in Tokyo and for it to happen again, the trauma all came back.
Wales defended their Commonwealth Games men’s pairs bowls title by beating England 19-18
“Now I’m feeling more confident and it has all paid off. The all-around final wasn’t my day, but it made me more motivated. My goal was to come away with more medals but I’ll put the bad things behind me and focus on this gold medal today.”
Elsewhere, England's Daniel Powell also picked up a gold medal in the 73kg judo.
Powell overcame Gambia's Faye Njie in the final of the competition, by a scoreline of 10-0.
Wales defended their Commonwealth Games men’s pairs bowls title by beating England 19-18 on a dramatic final end at Victoria Park in Leamington Spa.
Daniel Salmon and Jarrad Breen celebrated wildly after England pair Jamie Walker and Sam Tolchard had battled back from 15-6 down to level at 16-16 with four ends remaining.
Tolchard missed the final bowl as Salmon and Breen secured Wales’ second gold medal of Birmingham 2022.
Salmon, who partnered Marc Wyatt to Gold Coast glory in Australia four years ago, said: “I would never have even dreamt of this happening.
“I always wanted to win at one Commonwealth Games, but to win two golds is just beyond my wildest dreams.”
Asked if it was back to the day job after the Games, Salmon replied: “Yeah, back to painting some walls and some ceilings.
“I’m just in a bit of a daze at the moment. I was worried at the end because I thought he was good and was just going to rest on the back.
“When we saw it go through the gap it was relief more than anything that we had won. It’s just the most perfect day of my life.”
Scotland’s Paul Foster and Alex Marshall beat Northern Ireland pair Martin McHugh and Sam Barkley 25-5 to take bronze.
Adam Peaty ended a roller coaster past few days at the Games on a high note as he claimed gold in the men’s 50 metres breaststroke final.