DOUBLE Olympic winner Rebecca Adlington cruised to swimming gold as the Home Nations claimed a medal haul of 27 on day four of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Adlington’s comfortable victory in the women’s 800m was one of six England gold medals, the others going to gymnast Imogen Cairns, the men’s and women’s compound archery trios, shooter Stevan Walton and para-athlete Katrina Hart.
Sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis claimed one of England’s 12 silver medals in the men’s 100 metres final.
And there were four silvers for Wales won by track cyclist Becky James, hammer thrower Carys Parry, weightlifter Michaela Breeze and para-athlete Jenny McLoughlin.
Hartlepool’s Jemma Lowe won bronze for Wales – the country of her father – in the women’s 100m butterfly to claim the North East and Cumbria’s third gong of the Games, following the silver medals won by South Shields-based wrestler Terence Bosson and Middlesbrough cyclist David Daniell.
Two of England’s silvers came in the synchronised swimming, where Jenna Randall claimed one in the solo competition before teaming up with Olivia Allison for another in the duet. There were four England silvers in the pool – for Ellen Gandy, Simon Burnett, Joe Roebuck and Stephanie Millward – and three in the gymnastics, won by Luke Folwell, Reiss Beckford and Max Whitlock, while para-athlete Daniel James claimed the other in the men’s shot put F32/34/52.
Zoe Derham claimed one of two England bronzes in the shot put, Anna Blyth winning the other in track cycling’s women’s 10km scratch race.
The velodrome also saw Northern Ireland claim their first medal of the Games as Sean Downey, Martyn Irvine, Philip Lavery, David McCann took the bronze in the men’s team pursuit.
Shooter Tim Kneale won the Isle of Man’s second bronze of the Games in the men’s double trap individual.
In the boxing ring Welshman Andrew Selby beat England’s Tommy Stubbs on countback and Bournemouth bantamweight Iain Weaver set up a Saturday grudge match against Indian poster boy Akhil Kumar with a second-round stoppage of Swaziland’s Vusie Simelane.
England lost 3-0 to India in mixed team badminton semi-finals, sending India into the gold medal game and England into the bronze decider today. Earlier England beat Scotland to book their spot in the last four.
England’s hockey men fought out a 1-1 draw with Canada and Scotland’s women beat Trinidad 6-1.
England are guaranted a squash gold medal with top seed Nick Matthew facing James Willstrop in the final.
In the men’s singles tennis quarter-finals England’s Josh Goodall was beaten 6-7 6-1 7-6 by Australian Matt Ebden and James Ward went down 6-2 6-7 7-6 against Indian top seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Leader Paes.
England were beaten 47-41 by reigning champions New Zealand in the netball.
Adlington added the Commonwealth title to her Olympic 800m freeestyle crown as she dominated from start to finish at the Dr SP Mukherjee Aquatics Complex. The 21-year-old was second fastest into the final behind Wendy Trott but she was seven metres ahead at halfway before Trott started trying to chase her down.
However, Adlington was never seriously threatened, touching in eight minutes 24.69 seconds, ahead of Trott and Australia’s Melissa Gorman.
It was Adlington’s third medal of the Games so far after her bronzes in the 200m freestyle and 4x200m relay.
Adlington said: “I just decided to go for it from the start. It’s been a long season so it’s nice to finish off with a gold medal.”
Gandy and Lowe were both stunned by their medals in the 100m butterfly with the former finishing in 58.06 behind Australian winner Alicia Coutts, who claimed her third gold of the Games, 0.36 ahead of Lowe. The Teessider, who trains in Florida said: “It was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life, even more than in Beijing.
“I got pins and needles all over my body. I think it must have been the adrenalin and I could feel it until about 45metres. I just really wanted to do my best and get a medal for Wales.” Newcastle-based Scot Andrew Mayor made it through to the 100m butterfly final.
Meanwhile, an overjoyed Lewis-Francis declared the best was still to come after claiming 100 metres silver.
The 28-year-old Birchfield Harrier clocked 10.20 seconds to finish second to Lerone Clarke of Jamaica, who won gold in 10.12secs. England won five track and field medals yesterday, with Katherine Endacott promoted to bronze in the women’s 100m four hours after the event’s conclusion.
The disqualification of Sally Pearson of Australia, who crossed the line first in 11.28s, saw Nigeria’s Osayemi Oludamola awarded gold, Natasha Mayers of St Vincent and the Grenadines silver and Endacott bronze.
England and Nigeria appealed the original result, which saw Pearson named champion, and their protest was taken to the competition’s jury of appeal.
A counter protest from Australia was then unsuccessful, meaning Pearson joined England’s Laura Turner in being disqualified.
Lewis-Francis was world junior champion in 2000 and Olympic relay gold medal winner in 2004 but has endured a long barren run due to poor form and injury. “I’m over the moon with that,” he said.
It could have been even better for Lewis-Francis – coached by Linford Christie, who was watching from the UK after failing to be granted accreditation for the event – with his starting blocks slipping as he powered away from the line.
He added: “I’m happy, but I do believe I could’ve done a bit more. My blocks slipped and my start was disgusting. I don’t think I pushed them in properly, it’s one of those things.”
He now believes he can go from strength to strength, with the London 2012 Olympics less than two years away.
“For me this is confidence for next year and the year after,” he said. “We all know my issues, but I think one more year and I can be there (at my best).”