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Network Front | The Guardian
Latest news, sport, business, comment, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Network Front | The Guardian
  • Commonwealth Games 2014: day five live!

    I appear to have been misinformed. We are not finished in the pool, and about to enjoy the final of the 100m fly.

    South Africa's Willem Koertzen does not start his 400m heat - he was fifth, but presumably is out of the competition.

    Nyamadi of Ghana leads into the straight, but Victor of Grenada wins in 50.17 - half a second of his PB, apparently. His brother will go in the third heat.

    So we're done in the pool, so it's all the focus on the track. Qualifying group B of the women's triple jump is about to start, and there're also some decathlon 400m heats, prior to the women's 100m final in twenty minutes.

    Incidentally, good to see the Windsors have been lucky in the ticket ballot once again.

    Nick Matthew's partner is having a baby. It's "a little girl", he explains, for those unsure as to the relative dimensions of a newborn.

    It surely is lunacy that squash isn't an Olympic sport - especially when rugby sevens and dressage are.

    Nick Matthew, who won a thrilling squash gold this afternoon, is in the studio. His pal James Willstrop doesn't look happy, and asked if he's one to gloat, agrees that he is.

    "Oh my god!" exclaims Sandra Poole of Bruce House, motto: "Honour before honours".

    "Exactly the same thing happened to me, the difference being that it was my own sister who was the house games captain making me do the butterfly. Swimming was big at my school, and I didn't have the mercy of being disqualified, so I feebly ploughed through two whole lengths, coming in a miserable age after everyone else. Didn't even get encouraging cheers, just girls shouting at me to hurry up. You've brought back the pain and horror."

    And Van der Bergh wins, Peaty of England - who's just 19, if you require a reminder of how you've wasted your life - second.

    But off they go, and Van der Bergh of South Africa is absolutely bousting!

    They've all got one foot on the blocks, looking at or away from those they're scared of...

    Ross Murdoch comes out pointing - but he's not even the fastest Scot in this final.

    The men emerge for the 50m breaststroke final, and the Scots are excited about the Scots, somewhat at odds, with their reputation for self-loathing and deprecation. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK ANYMORE.

    The men's shot has been won by O'Dayne Richards of Jamaica. his fourth throw of 21.62 was enough - second was Tom Walsh of New Zealand and third was Tim Nedow of Canada.

    It's straight off to the men's T37 100m final, and it's a South African 1-2, Fanie van der Merwe winning and Du Tois second. Bronze went to Rhys Jones of Wales.

    And Lacroix wins, Willmott second - against all expctations - anf Groves of Australia gets bronze. Peculiar race, that - it was entirely unclear what was going to happen until it'd happened.

    Lacroix of Canada from Willmott...

    Still Savard at 150m, but then Amy Willmott of England snatches the lead on the final turn....

    Savard of Canada leads ofter 50m, but already looks bushed.

    And they dive, flippering their legs.

    The crowd are calling out for Hannah Miley.

    They're ready to go.

    While Taylor asserts her happiness, the women emerge for the 200m butterfly final. I was once corralled into swimming this in the gala by some hard older kids in my house. They weren't remotely interested to be informed that I was rubbish at swimming, and only there to skive lessons. I did the butterfly action with my arms - or what I thought to be it - and was disqualified, receiving several unfriednlily allocated dead arms for my trouble.

    Taylor's done it! It's a comfortable win! And also a British record, Tonks of Australia second and Atkinson third. That was great from Taylor, because she bided her time while Atkinson shot her bolt, then picked her off in the final 30.

    Atkinson turned half a second ahead of the rest, and she's still ahead - but the others are closing!

    And they nash off. Atkinson of Jamaica has started well, as has Sally Hunter, but England's Sophie Taylor is very well placed.

    Katie Armitage is out for the 100m breaststroke final. The crowd are amped, but only because of the announcer. Otherwise, they'd be snookered.

    Jazz Carlin enjoyed her time standing on the giant insect-castanets, inhaling, exhaling and choking through Land of my Fathers.

    Oli Hynds has a lovely smile. Other havers of the same:

    "Re: Michael Johnson", begins David Wall, like he's discussing a court case. "Like a lot of the comments btl on that interview said he's one of the better commentators/ pundits (and not just of athletics). But how is it that the BBC are able to get him for major tournaments? I understand that US channels probably aren't covering the Commonwealth Games but he was with the Beeb through the Olympics and World Championships too. Usually the best American commentators are shared with the UK channels at best (so McEnroe splits commentary with the US coverage and isn't available for the final to the BBC). Is Johnson unappreciated in his home country? Does that give him even more credibility (similar to an artist being unappreciated in their own time (not because it's the US that doesn't appreciate him)?"

    I don't know the answer to this. It could be that the US use someone else, it could be that he prefers working for the BBC for one reason or another.

    The bagpipes are wailing - it's the medals ceremony for the men's SM8 200m medley, won by Oliver Hynd of England. Green and pleasant lands really isn't much of a compliment is it?

    Georgia Davies of Wales was the fastest qualifier, but Emily Seebohm of Australia broke the Commonwealth record in the first semi. But Davies is equal to it, breaking it again. Quigley and Wilson also qualify - the final is tomorrow night

    Back in the pool, the women are coming out for the second of the 50 backstroke semi-finals.

    A brief quiet moment.

    Back indoors, Quais Ashfaq of England has just beaten Thamahane of Lesoto on points, to move into the bantamweight quarter-finals.

    Clegg is away well, and she's streaking clear! No one is remotely close to her, what a run this is - gold in 12.20, while the others are still thinking about what's for tea!

    They take their marks...

    Sure enough, Frizell of Canada is quickly into the lead with 70.59. Meanwhile, we're waiting for Libby Clegg of Scotland in the women's T12 100m final. Tanni Grey-Thompson reckons this is hers to lose.

    Sophie Hitchon is throwing in the hammer final ... and she lands one in bounds, but it doesn't look much like she likes it. It's 67.59m and put her into the lead, but she'll need better for a medal, it is thought

    Cole is a lovely mover - that looked like no trouble whatsoever, and was metres better than anything we've seen so far.

    This is a brilliant run from Bailey-Cole, who wins in 10.01 - but Richard Thompson of T&T, the fastest man in the Commonwealth, is out!

    The third semye is about to commence. Why do people use the word commence?

    Michael Johnson reckons Gemili has no need to worry about Livermore in the final, but that Ashmead has more to give. Either way, you can tell the difference between him and A-A, who just seems happy to be there. Not that Gemili isn't, but he's also focused on winning.

    Gemili's form is exceptional - his stride repeats, while those on either side waver. His time is confirmed as 10.07 - and A-A is out.

    Gemili is out of the blocks well, but immediately overtaken by Livermore - but Gemili finds more! At 70m, he pulls away, runs down Mark Jelks inside him, and dips to win! Great run!

    They take their marks - Gemili is outside Jason Livermore of Jamaica, the favourite for this race.

    Next up, Adam Gemili. "He has a great racing brain", says Denise Lewis, and MJ is far more convinced by his mentality than by A-A's.

    Fraser won in 10.21, but Ashmead was given the same time.

    "I know that God's on my side this year, says Harry, trackside. "This is amazing, this opportunity I'm taking with both hands." His 10.25 had him in fourth, so technically, he could still qualify - but it seems unlikely.

    There is a silly amount of sport tonight. We weren't shown the women's 100m semye-finals, so, here are you qualifiers:

    Schillonie Calvert Jam11.08

    And he gets a good start, but fades after 60m. Fraser of Bahamas looks to have taken it, with Ashmead second. The time is slow, and this hasn't gone down well in the commentary box.

    Eyes down for the men's 100m semye-finals. Harry-DubA is in the first...

    Carlin is going to win! Carlin has won! What a swim, and how much faster can she go? That's a Welsh record and personal best.

    Fifty metres to go, and Carlin still has plenty, while Boyle is labouring!

    But her turn isn't great! But she's pulling further ahead!

    With three lengths to go, Carlin nudges in front, and she's making her move, extending her lead.

    And still Boyle and Carlin are stroke for stroke, at 550m. Boyle is slightly in front, but this is going to come down to who's got most left in the last hundred.

    It's Boyle ahead - her turns are better than Carlin's - and Brittany McLean of Canada is third, and still with them.

    Meanwhile, Sulemanu and Gerie are enjoying a wild fight in the boxing - it's at lightfly.

    Carlin ahead at 200m, but not by much. The pace is good, though, and Adlington reckons Carlin will inject serious pace in the back 400.

    Anyway, Boyle leads, but Carlin is beginning to shift.

    Away they go, just the sixteen lengths. There is literally nothing not worth doing to get out of swimming at school - a friend of mine once asked his sister for a note, as his parents were away. The teacher collars him, much to his surprise. The letter reads "Gaby can't do swimming because he has his period."

    And they're getting themselves ready. The whistle goes, and they're on the marks.

    We're now seeing the line-up for the women's 800m freestyle - featuring Jazz Carlin of Wales. Rebecca Adlington reckons she's a great chance of the gold - and it'd be nice if Hannah Miley or Camilla Hattersley could challenge too. But Adlington reckons Lauren Boyle is the biggest threat to Carlin.

    Earlier today, Australia beat England 3-0 to reach the women's hockey semi-finals. Here's James Riach's report.

    And Larkin wins! Beaver second, Main of New Zealand third. larkin measured that very well.

    Larkin, Beaver, Main at 150m, and Larkin's pulling away now, Beaver coming back at him...

    It's Main, Larkin, Beaver at halfway.... and Craig McNally seems to have left himself too much to do. Sme top three at 100m.

    Marks taken - and they're off. Larkin is in the lead at halfway through the first leg, but he's a great sprinter...

    The announcer is part hip-hop hypeman, part kids' party entertainer. But the boys are stripped and in the water...

    We're getting ready for the men's 200m backstroke final - featuring two Scots and a Welshman, though, the Aussie pair are favourites.

    Meanwhile, Michael Johnson is letting us know that he wasn't impressed with Adam Gemili's performance this afternoon - though he did qualify fastest.

    Talking of MJ, he spoke to the Observer just yesterday - well, not yesterday, but you know what I mean. You can read it in full here, but here are a couple of lines to get you in the mood.

    Gary Lineker is wearing a short-sleeved pulling shirt. There's no excuse for that.

    Talking of montages, as I was, to myself, earlier, the other day, I saw one that didn't use the music of Ludovico Einaudi. Trusay!

    And Barnes stops Furahisha! Furahisha tried to rally, catching Barnes on the ropes, Barnes turned him, and then properly set about punishing the effrontery, working upstairs and downstairs. The defending champion is through.

    In the boxing, Northern Ireland's Paddy Barnes
    is giving Furahisha of Tanzania a proper hiding. They're in the third round, and Furahisha took a standing count in the second.

    But a brilliant flying smash, from the back corner to the opposite back corner, brings up match point - and only one is required! Malaysia win the gold!

    Malaysia take it to 19-15, but then Walker plays a great shot to the back and uses it to close to within three points, before a loose serve elicits an error.

    Walker has managed to gain a point, the score now 14-12 - but at the same time, she's also closer to defeat. And then she backhands a smash return into the net and the lead is back to three.

    It's 11-8 in the badminton now, and with England already a point down form the men's game, it's not looking all that.

    Your gymnastics digance digest - all the afternoon's activity, detailed here.

    Gosh, England are tottering here, Sarah Walker losing three straight points to go 2-5 behind.

    Malaysia win the first set, and after a break, it's 2-2 in the second.

    S Badminton: England trail Malaysia 16-19 in the gold medal match, but have serve. It's pretty invigorating stuff - I strongly recommend getting it on.

    Elsewhere: India are 25-1 at stumps on the second day of the second Test. England made 569-7 dec.

    Ok, BBC aren't mithering to tell us when they're showing live and when they're showing highlights. Must've escaped their attention amongst all the montages.

    "Was at the shooting centre in Carnoustie today, just by Dundee, and it was fabulous", says Simon McMahon - perhaps the first time those two words have appeared in the same sentence since the heady days of John Clarke and Hanish McAlpine." Big Australian contingent, cheering on Warren Potent and Daniel Repacouli, who both medalled today. The Indian shooters Rai, Singh and Narang also put in superb medal winning performances. Brilliant, friendly atmosphere, superbly skilled competitors, wonderful staff and generous, knowledgeable spectators. And I'm on holiday, so I'm on it now. What's not to like?"

    Indeed - shooting is a good way of avoiding those famous undulations.

    15.733 for Whitlock! He's ahead of Smith, though not for execution.

    Max Whitlock is on the horse, not quite as loose as Smith, but still beautifully done. Louis Smith is whooping, whistling and hollering, as we learn that Purvis has scored 14.7. That's him in third.

    Daniel Purves is up next, and he's attacking these rings, while Louis Smith's score comes up - it's an enormous 15.7, the best so far.

    It's 13.9 for Keatings, which has him in third.

    His dismount is great, one-and-a-half back swings. Let's see what he gets...

    ...as Louis Smith gives the pommel horse some - the event at which he won silver in London. And that looked pretty good, I must say, tight and quick.

    So, we've got Scotland's Dan Danny Keatings on the rings.

    This should be quite an evening. We've got both 100m finals, some brilliant gymnastics, and a panoply of both odds and sods.

    The marshal at my place of further education - so called at his own behest, because he was aggressive and ex-army - used to call my Danny, by way of insult. Obviously he wasn't a fan of mid-to-late 80s 400m hurdling.

    And I'm done! Danny Harris will take over from here.

    Louis Smith says there's more gymnasticating to come from him. "There is definitely more to come," Smith said. "If I make the pommel horse final I'm definitely going to step up the routine. It depends on where I am. If everyone else has fallen off, I might do an easier one."

    Should squash be an Olympic sport?

    "Those who know me says it's not often I'm speechless," mimes Nick Matthew.

    Nick Matthew wins squash gold! James Willstrop has to make do with gold.

    In the men's squash final, they're into a deciding fifth game.

    Team England are doing well in the gymnastics. The men top the pile with a score of 133.806 at the moment and Kristian Thomas has been talking.

    The main job was to come and be as solid as we can, not really worry about what is going on with the other gymnasts from other countries and I think we did that today. There were a few errors here and there but that is always going to happen, the whole nation, with the atmosphere and the pressure. But we picked ourselves up from the little mistakes we did make and finished really strongly so overall a very good day.

    Nick Matthew takes the third game for a 2-1 lead against James Willstrop in the men's squash final.

    New Zealand's Sally Johnson wins gold in the 50m rifle prone. Hurrah for her!

    James Willstrop has levelled the men's squash final at 1-1 against Nick Matthew, winning the second game to 8.

    Australia's Warren Potent - that's a good name - has won gold in the men's prone rifle. That's a gymnastics discipline in case you were wondering.

    In the shooting, Caroline Povey has won a bronze medal, following in the footsteps of her father Joe Neville, who won shooting gold and silver at Edinburgh in 1986.

    "It was very nerve-wracking but I just had to try to stay focused, keep it one target at a time and I'm absolutely delighted to win a bronze medal," she said. "I had to dig deep to keep it together and keep hitting them until the end. Dad won gold and silver the last time the Games were in Edinburgh so when I found out I was coming to Glasgow 2014 it was always the aim and now we've got all three from the Games in Scotland. It will make the whole family so proud. My daughter Xanthe is here today. I came to watch Dad when I was six to see him win his medals so I wanted her to be here. She probably won't remember it but I'll have great memories of it. We'll be having a great evening out tonight."

    In the men's squash final, it's an all-English final, Nick Matthew and James Willstrop duking it out.

    Now watching woman's 69kg weightlifting. Inspiring feats of strength. Fegue Marie top in the snatch with 102kg lift; more than I can bench!

    Squash silver medalist Laura Massaro has been talking about losing to Malaysia's Nicol David. "I think Nicol was better. Obviously she was - she won and I didn't. I definitely think the first game was the most crucial and I was disappointed not to convert that game ball that I had. Things like that can turn matches. After that she settled down very well and it was always going to be difficult then. Physically and mentally she's tough to break down. You've got no chance if you're not playing the best you could and I wouldn't say I was at my best today. I'm disappointed. It was 3-0 and it wasn't really close after the first game. Ultimately my goal was to try and get a medal and I never put a colour on it. A silver is probably about what I deserved. I'm number two in the world and that performance wasn't good enough for the gold."

    It's gold for Singapore in the men's team event in the table tennis! England have to settle for silver. Singapore have won it 3-1.

    Our royal correspondent, Sean Ingle, has emailed in again from the gymnastics. "Kate and Will - along with Edward - warmly applauded by the crowd when they appeared on the giant screen earlier. No regal wave back though. And they refused to sing along to the Karaoke singalong of the Proclaimers' I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)."

    Scotland's victory in the men's team event in the lawn bowls brought them to 12 golds, a new Games record. "This is just fantastic," Alex Marshall said. "I have won two golds before but this one tops the lot. Playing in your own back yard, in front of your own fans - you just can't beat it. Simply the best. It's definitely one of the highlights of my career. That is our 12th gold medal of the games for Team Scotland, so that is another record broken, which is fantastic. We got off to a good start. Paul was phenomenal from start to finish and that makes my job a lot easier. But even so, there was still a lot of pressure on us. We just had to keep going and that's what we did."

    Malaysia's Nicol David wins gold in the women's squash singles after a crushing victory over England's Laura Massaro. That was rather good.

    "Hold the front page," says Sean Ingle. "Kate and Will are at the gymnastics."

    Goal! Hockey goal! Australia go 3-0 up against England.

    Malaysia's Nicol David is playing some wonderful squash and romps into a 2-0 lead.

    Let's talk squash. In the gold medal match in the women's singles, Malaysia's Nicol David is in control against England's Laura Massaro.

    Scotland's Paul Foster, one half of the bowls gold medal double act, speaks thusly: "This is the highlight of my career. To win a gold medal in your home country is an unbelievable feeling, I'll take this to my grave. The bowls Alex played yesterday was incredible, and I just said to myself last night: 'I'm going to help the big man out today.'"

    More from shooting medalist and Chelsea fan Ken Parr on Fernando Torres. "I love Fernando - he's one of my favourite players," he said. "I loved him at Atletico Madrid - he was a great signing and I'm hoping for some great performances from him this season."

    It's come to this.

    Singapore are two matches up against England in the gold medal match in the men's table tennis team event.

    My colleague, Sean 'Pommel Horse' Ingle, has emailed in from Glasgow: "At the gymnastics, watching Wales' floor routine in the men's team final. The soundtrack is a little unusual: The Smiths' There Is A Light That Never Goes Out. Both England and the strong Scotland team go at 3.25pm."

    Someone in the table tennis arena is asleep. More when we know more.

    Georgia Davies reckons expressed confidence that Wales can reach their swimming targets after she broke a Commonwealth Games record with a time of 27.90 seconds in the 50 metres backstroke heats. "At the moment we've got three medals, but we've got Jazz Carlin coming up tonight in the 800 (freestyle) and she's also got the 400 tomorrow," she said. "I'd like to hope I can get another in the 50 tomorrow night. We've got a good chance of reaching that target."

    "My colleague and English shootist Ken Parr just won Bronze in the mens 50m rifle pronem" says William Dorling. "Well done Ken." Here's some copy from PA, including some gratuitous digs at Fernando Torres.

    Chelsea fan Ken Parr showed Fernando Torres how to shoot when he won bronze for England in the 50m rifle prone. The 25-year-old from Croydon, a double silver medallist at Delhi four years ago, clinched his third Commonwealth Games medal at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Dundee. Unlike misfiring Blues striker Torres, Parr knew where the target was as he fired in two maximum 10.9s, as well as a nerveless 10.4 with his 12th shot to avoid elimination and a fourth-placed finish.

    Scotland have won the lawn bowls men's pairs gold medal after beating Malaysia 20-3 in the final.

    Here are some SQUASH QUOTES. England's Peter Barker won bronze. What does he think about winning bronze?

    "I wasn't easy and it was a very nip and tuck game. He played well and it was never comfortable ever. I was gutted after the semi-final but someone had to lose and I woke up today and I was determined to seize that chance of a bronze medal, that was my motivation."

    Australia are 2-0 up against England in the women's hockey. Blast! Unless you're Australian. In which case - yay!

    And Jian Zhan has taken the opening match 3-2! Singapore lead England 1-0 and are closing in on table tennis gold.

    In the table tennis, Singapore's Jian Zhan levels it up at 2-2 against England's Paul Drinkhall and they're into a decider.

    Joelle King of New Zealand wins squash bronze in the women's singles, beating England's Alison Waters 11-7 11-7 11-5,

    Paul Drinkhall takes the third game 11-6 to lead 2-1 in his match against Jian Zhan. He needs one more to put England in the lead in the chase for table tennis gold.

    Some boxing news. In the light fly event (49kg), Ashley Williams has helped himself to a convincing win over Juliano Maquina from Mozambique in the round of 16. And Scotland's Aqeel Ahmed has beaten Kenya's Alumasa Matayo Keya.

    Scotland are 16-0 up in the men's team event in the lawn bowls! Sixteen-nil! What a forgettable afternoon for the Malaysian lads.

    Singapore's Jian Zhan has levelled his match against Paul Drinkhall at 1-1 in the gold medal match of the men's team event in the table tennis, winning the second game to five.

    Singapore have edged out India for bronze in the badminton team event. "We kept telling ourselves not to think too much and not worry if it was match point and just play every shot properly," Yao Lei said. "The semi-final [against Malaysia] was disappointing. We had the chance to win but we're happy we won a bronze medal and we've won a medal for Singapore."

    England have taken the first game, Paul Drinkhall winning it 11-5. A slow start from Drinkhall but he was brilliant once he settled down.

    Table tennis is a staggeringly fast sport. How do you develop those reflexes?

    In the table tennis, the gold medal match in the men's team event is underway. Can England beat Singapore?

    "It's been a superlative morning at Hampden Park," says Guy Hornsby. "The sun is finally out and the home nations have been involved everywhere. Aled Davies' tears at silver in the discus, Martin Rooney running strongly in the 400 and Libby Clegg in the 100m have been highlights but really the atmosphere has been every bit as good as London, and we're back for the evening to see Gemilli try and take gold. Spoilt for choice really...."

    On BBC2, live coverage of a squash match that finished 20 minutes ago.

    Table-tennis bronze for Nigeria in the men's team event, beating India 3-1. Next up it's Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Andy Baggaley representing England against Singapore in the gold medal match.

    A genuine question. What skills do you require to be good at bowls and what sets the best apart?

    Scotland are running away with the bowls. They're 8-0 up!

    This right here is the full schedule of today's events.

    Athletics

    Squash. Peter Barker has won bronze for England, beating Saurav Ghosal 3-1.

    Here's what we're looking forward to today. There's athletics, there's swimming, there's squash, there's table tennis, there's boxing, there's badminton and there's lawn bowls. The lawn bowls is on my television right now and two Scottish men are beating two Malaysian men 3-0. This is outstanding lawn bowls from Scotland, who are going for gold.

    Jacob will be here shortly. And now he's here and he's still got a virulent case of Commonwealth Games Fever!

    Continue reading...








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  • Nick Matthew sees off James Willstrop in Commonwealth Games squash final
    Matthew prevails 11-9, 8-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5
    Second Commonwealth gold in a row for older man

    There were two rivals, alike in dignity, from old grudge break to new mutiny. And there were a few hundred spectators in the arena, perhaps 50 members of the press, a dozen photographers, a handful of Olympic champions from other sports, even a visiting prince.

    And, of course, there were all those TV cameras, feeding the mens final back to however many were watching around the world. They may as well have not been there. Certainly everything outside the glass walls of the floodlit court, 10m by 6m by 5m, was invisible to Nick Matthew and James Willstrop.

    Continue reading...








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    Two of the chicken abattoirs at the heart of a Guardian investigation in to levels of food contamination in fresh British chicken have been visited by inspectors from the Food Standards Agency at the request of the health secretary.

    Their arrival came after Jeremy Hunt intervened publicly on Thursday to demand the FSA carry out a proper investigation at two factories in Scunthorpe and Llangefni, Anglesey, which are owned by the UK's largest chicken processing company 2 Sisters Food Group.

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    I am sure that already he could hear the last rites being read for his government. The consoling hope was that Labour could set the terms of the debate about the nature of this economic crisis, and how to fix it.

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