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Laura Muir loses fluidity but hammer blow stops medals running Dry

IT is the summer of the avalanche of medals for Team Scotland.

Mark Dry swings in the Hampden sunshine on his way to securing a bronze medal. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Sport
Mark Dry swings in the Hampden sunshine on his way to securing a bronze medal. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Sport

The gold rush cooled in the chill air of Hampden last night but Scotland could still retain its medal momentum even as Laura Muir, the great hope, lost hers in the 1500 metres.

It was home and Dry for Scotland in the hammer but it was nearly over and out for Muir. Mark Dry, the 26-year-old from Burghead, Moray, took the bronze medal in the hammer throw behind Jim Steacy of Canada and England's Nick Miller.

Muir, though, stumbled and almost fell on the last bend as the gold in the 1500 metres was won by Faith Kibiegon, the Kenyan world No.1, in 4.08.94 ahead of Laura Weightman of England and the Canadian Kate Van Buskirk.

Muir trailed in well beaten in second-last place after she lost control of her stride in a desperate attempt to keep up with the leaders as they stretched for home after a slow start to the race.

It was a hugely disappointing night for the Scotswoman but the home crowd were given a fillip moments after the race as Dry was confirmed in the bronze medal position with his throw of 71.64.

The currency of one bronze was not quite what the crowd had hoped for as Team Scotland reached a tally of 37 medals for the Games but an unexpected dividend in terms of performance and drama was paid out by Scotswoman Beth Potter in an astonishing 10,000m final that eventually became a tale of two finishes.

The fight for the medals was contested by three Kenyans with Joyce Chepikirui (32:09:35) coming late to deny Florence Kiplagat on the line with Emily Chebet third. But a similar conflict was fought out behind them as Potter, who had enthralled the crowd by taking the lead for almost three laps was just denied by Kate Avery of England in a battle of the Auld Enemy that was once a staple of the football fare of Hampden.

However, the 22-year-old from Milngavie shaved 12 seconds off her personal best, recording 32:33.36 and unexpectedly described it "the best race I have run".

In the style of a lead up to a sprint finish in the Tour de France, the schedule of races, throws and leaps last night simply helped crank up the tension for the main events. These, at least for the home audience, were Muir's 1500m and the men's hammer throw contested by Frost and Dry, a double act that could be holding out for a weatherman franchise, and also Bennett, the 24-year-old from Glasgow.

Frost, the 33-year-old from Broxburn, is the nearly man of Commonwealth Games, finishing fourth in the 2006 and 2010. He finished out of the medals again as only Dry survived the first cull in the final with Frost finishing ninth and Bennett 12th.

They threw from a corner of the field of the venerable stadium but they were the centre of attention until Muir stepped on to the track.

The 21-year-old, a veterinary student at Glasgow University, had reached the final by finishing third in a quick heat won by Kenya's World Championship bronze medallist Hellen Obiri in a Games record of 4: 04.43 seconds. She had been encouraged by that on Monday.

But this was another day, another challenge and the expectation permeated the night air in a series of shouts and roars. She greeted her acclaim on the start line with a cheery wave. The serious business began immediately.

The early pace was slow as Muir tucked herself in handily behind Nicola Sifuentes of Canada but as the Kenyans took over and attempted to dominate the race from the front, she switched to the outside. The danger in this strategy was that Muir had to run more than 800 metres in a wide position.

She came off the bend in fourth position with 110 metres to go but seemed already to be straining to keep in contention. Then there was the moment when all was lost.

Muir suddenly lost all fluidity, her legs flailing, her bid for a medal failing. She later claimed she had been tripped. "Somebody caught my foot and I stumbled and lost my momentum," she said. "When you are tired it is very hard to recover. It is very disappointing. I will speak to my coach and I might do the 800 now and I might not."

The leaders stretched away down the straight leaving the world No.8 to regain some sort of poise but to gaze only at the backs of her main rivals inside of striding alongside them. Scotland thus had to be content with a Dry bronze rather than a febrile celebration over Muir. More predictably, Jamaica were dominant in two other events. Stephenie McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Christine Day took the medals in the 400m and Andrew Riley won the 110 hurdles gold from William Sharman of England.

It was a sensational and dramatic night yet again at Glasgow 2014. It was all played out to a crowd that would not be silenced even by the disappointment of the hand fate dealt to their stumbling heroine.

Kibiegon received a tumultuous cheer as she crossed the line. This too was expected. This is a stadium that can and does reach fever pitch for an Australian's foul throw in the men's decathlon.

The stadium celebrated Dry when they expected to toast Muir.

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