Team England made history on day five of the Commonwealth Youth Games, enjoying the nation’s best ever day at a Youth Games. Medals were secured in the pool, on the track, the beach volleyball court and in the boxing ring. By the end of an amazing session of sport, eight gold, two silver and four bronze medals had been won with England dominating the medal table.
The gold rush began with Javier and Joaquin Bello claiming gold in the boy’s beach volleyball competition, England’s first ever Commonwealth medal in the sport. The twins overcame Cyprus 21-16, 21-13 during which the team showed superb composure to close out the biggest match of their young careers to date. Javier said: “I think we had a very well developed game plan against Cyprus, we were serving one guy really tough and physically he was struggling a bit in the second set. They came back but I think we had a lot of patience to just keep driving and just keep executing our game plan. It feels great to represent England, we were the first athletes at these games to compete and we’ve kept good discipline all the way through, match by match, play by play and keeping going all the time.”
All eyes then switched to the pool where England’s swimmers set the ball rolling on an unprecedented evening session. England won gold in all three of the opening three races with Leah Crisp winning the 800m, Tom Dean the boys 200m IM and Alicia Wilson the girls 200m IM. Crisp, a double gold medallist, summed up her achievement: “It was such a tough race in the 800m, it really hurt but after winning the 400m yesterday and getting a personal best there and another personal best today was a great feeling. I know my strongest part of the race is normally at the back end so once I led into 400m I knew that I had it in me to win so I just kept going. I think there was a bit of pressure today as the first medal chance but to get the ball rolling I think the atmosphere was amazing but it was a really great to get the win.”
As the session went on, confidence flowed through the team with Ciara Schlosshan and Mason Wilby both winning their respective 200m butterfly, and Schlosshan continuing her success by picking up her second medal of the day in the 4x100m mixed medley relay, alongside Layla Black, Harry Constantine and Jahrel Murphy. Schlosshan said “We’ve done great and in swimming alone we’ve got 21 medals which is the best we have ever done. We’ve brought such a great team out here and we’ve really thrived off each other. For me I think there were three gold medals before I swam tonight and it gave me such a buzz. To hear Jerusalem played three times just before I swam without a doubt it helped my performance in the pool.”
Meanwhile at track and field, England’s athletes were joining the medal party. Emma Howe threw 47.04m in the javelin taking the first medal of the day and her teammates drew inspiration to deliver some first class performances. Sam Bennett and Jack Sumners secured England’s first 1-2 of the Games in the 110m hurdles. Alex Botterill led home team mate Josh Allen to win gold and bronze respectively in the 800m and Anna Burt claimed silver in the girl’s race. Boy’s captain Bennett said: “I feel amazing, it is so good that the whole team have done well today. It’s an honour to be part of the best ever day at a Commonwealth Youth Games. I’m glad I could do my bit.”
In the boxing ring Team England saw all six boxers through to their respective finals to set up another stellar day on the final day of competition tomorrow.