Commonwealth Games: Hamblin fifth in 1,500m

By David Leggat in Glasgow

Nikki Hamblin, left. Photo / Getty Images
Nikki Hamblin, left. Photo / Getty Images

Nikki Hamblin returned to Commonwealth Games action with a fifth placing in the 1500m final at Hampden Park tonight.

The double silver medallist over 800 and 1500m in New Delhi four years ago, Hamblin clocked 4min 10.77s in a race dominated by Kenyan runners, one of whom, Faith Kibiegon, won in 4:08.94.

The pace was a crawl and didn't suit Hamblin, who wanted more speed. However she positioned herself well, sitting around fourth for most of the journey.

But she ran into problems with about 200m to go.

''During the race I felt really good," she said.

''I knew I was in a really good position but the kick came and I was in too much traffic. When you have a slow race like that whoever kicks first is nine times out of 10 going to win it."

Hamblin said it would be a stretch to say the mistake coming towards the home straight cost her a medal, but she certainly felt she was in the frame at that point.

England's Laura Weightman won the silver in 4:09.24 with Canada's Kate van Buskirk, who was up amng the leaders throughout, winning bronze in 4:09.41.

Hamblin has endured a long recovery after heel problems since New Delhi. Those, plus a torn Achilles in 2012 cost her a trip to the London Olympics.

The 26-year-old has a four-year plan she hopes will come to fruition for the Rio Olympics in 2016. There will be lessons to take out of tonight and Hamblin seemed reasonably satisfied with the final as a starting point in her preferred distance.

''I'll learn from what I've done here and improve next year and hopefully have something pretty well nailed down for 2016," she said.

First things first, and Hamblin is in the heats of the 800m tomorrow. It is a quick turnaround. She said she usually took a while to get to sleep after a big race and suggested she does not expect wonders in a highly competitive event.

She hadn't looked at her heat, but when she does she'll find three of the other six runners have done faster than her season best 2:02.73.

''It's not going to be easy. It's really strong."

Fellow New Zealander Angie Smit is in the third heat and Hamblin gave her a big rap.
''She's running awesome, is a really tough and strong runner. I see her as a better 800m runner than me."

That said, Hamblin relished being back on the big stage. Now it's about building up and onwards with the knowledge that she is again in business.

- NZ Herald

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