Commonwealth Games : Cram Wins 1,500 Despite Tactical Error, Slow Pace; 10-Day Competition Ends

From Times Wire Services

England's Steve Cram overcame a tactical mistake, a slow pace and strong wind to win the 1,500 meters and complete a middle-distance double Saturday as the 13th Commonwealth Games came to a close.

Cram's time was 3:50.87. On Thursday, he won the 800 in 1:43.22, fastest in the world this year.

England won the last race, the 1,600-meter relay, and that victory enabled it to edge Canada, 52-51, for the gold-medal title in the Games.

And it gave England leading totals of 18 golds and 48 medals overall in the 41 track and field events contested over six days at Meadowbank Stadium.

Canada finished second in track and field with 10 gold medals and 28 medals in all, while Australia was third with 9 and 26.

The only other team to win more than one gold in track and field was Wales, which got two--both by their woman middle-distance runner, Kirsty Wade.

Like Cram, Wade won the 800 and 1,500, completing her double Saturday in the longer event--another tactical, wind-marred race. The winning time of 4:10.91 was the slowest in the Games since 1970.

England, which won six of the nine events Saturday, swept all three field events, led by triple- jumper John Herbert, who won with a leap of 56-8, his career best and the longest jump in the Commonwealth this year.

David Ottley, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the javelin, won with a heave of 264-6, the best throw in the Commonwealth for 1986, and Billy Cole took the shotput at 59-1, the worst winning performance in the Games since 1962.

Cram, the overwhelming favorite in the 1,500, stayed at the back of the pack for more than half the race, as is his custom.

But by the bell lap, he appeared in trouble when teammate John Gladwin opened a 25-meter lead. Finally, Cram began accelerating, and with 150 meters left, he swept into the lead and put Gladwin away down the stretch.

However, Cram said later that he had almost waited too long to make his surge. "John really took off, and for about 150 yards, I thought he was going to keep going and I was not going to catch him," he said. "I don't remember ever making a mistake like that in a 1,500."

Gladwin, who finished second, was clocked in 3:52.17. David Campbell of Canada was third in 3:54.06.

Cram's world record for the longer distance of one mile is 3:46.32.

In the closing ceremony that followed Saturday's competition, Cram carried the flag for England as Queen Elizabeth II looked on.

Only 26 teams remained for the games following a withdrawal by 32 other Commonwealth nations, colonies and territories over the British government's refusal to impose economic sanctions on South Africa.

Despite the boycott and the gray skies hanging over the stadium, about 2,000 competitors and 22,000 fans waved, smiled and applauded as the 10-day event drew to a close.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World