Commonwealth Games 2022: Shock in the pool as Adam Peaty out of the medals in 100m breaststroke

Commonwealth Games 2022 live: cycling, gymnastics and beach volleyball updates from day three
Commonwealth Games 2022 live: cycling, gymnastics and beach volleyball updates from day three
  • Track cycling abandoned after riders and fans caught in huge crash
  • England’s Jake Jarman takes gold in the men’s all-round gymnastics final while James Hall takes silver
  • England’s Ondine Achampong wins silver in women’s all-around
  • Alice Tai wins gold in the pool just six months after having her leg amputated 
  • Shock as Peaty finishes out of the medals in the 100m breaststroke as James Wilby wins gold

Adam Peaty does not lose. He had not done so in a 100 metres breaststroke race at a major championship since 2014. So to describe Sunday night’s defeat as a shock result does not even come close.

Peaty did not just lose, he was hammered. That he did not even win a medal suggests he is correct in his post-race assertion that “something has obviously gone majorly wrong”.

Given his injury problems, it will not take much to assess what exactly that is. But credit must first go to James Wilby, who not only inflicted the biggest surprise result this Sandwell Aquatics Centre pool will see during these Commonwealth Games, but ensured the gold medal still went the hosts’ way, even if the winner was not the Englishman anyone expected. He capitalised perfectly on his team-mate’s underperformance.

James Wilby celebrates his win with a shocked Peaty in the background - GETTY IMAGES
James Wilby celebrates his win with a shocked Peaty in the background – GETTY IMAGES

For Peaty, the answer to defeat surely lies in a freak accident while on a training camp in Tenerife in May when he broke a bone in his right foot. Not only was it the first serious injury of his career, but it came off the back of a total break from swimming during which he did not set foot in a pool for three months after last year’s Olympics.

Prior to these Commonwealth Games he had not raced since April, and only once this year before that. He had spent most of the past few months swimming using only his arms. That he was even able to do so was only because he had confounded doctors’ expectation that it would take 12 weeks to recover.

There was simply no feasible way for the triple Olympic champion and world record holder to be in peak physical shape here. And yet all the signs still suggested he would triumph.

In the heats he was the only man to break one minute; in the semi-finals he finished almost a second ahead of anyone else; and halfway through the final he was clear in front.

Then, like never before in his senior career, the wheels fell off and he went backwards. Wilby’s 59.25-second victory would ordinarily be a breeze for Peaty. So, too, the times by Australia’s silver and bronze medalists Zac Stubblety-Cook and Sam Williamson.

“I just don’t know what went wrong,” said Peaty, 27. “With 25m to go I had nothing in the tank. Sometimes you just have a bad race. I can’t even remember when I went that slow.

“Of course it’s a shock. Of course it’s disappointing. It took a broken foot to get [the unbeaten streak] away from me. But I chose to fight. I don’t really care about the stats and how long I’m undefeated. Going into the next two years it’s all about how I peak in Paris [2024 Olympics].

Peaty raises Wilby hand after the shock result  - REUTERS
Peaty raises Wilby hand after the shock result – REUTERS

The perennial bridesmaid, Wilby, 28, has spent almost his whole career finishing behind Peaty.

“I’ve always chased him,” he said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete. Credit where it’s due, he’s the fastest breaststroker in the world. You can’t take that away from him.

“This moment, I was able to get a little edge on him, but he’ll probably kick me in the arse later in the calendar. I’m overwhelmed and amazed by the result.”

There was further English joy with Alice Tai claiming 100m backstroke S8 gold just six months after having her right leg amputated to relieve her of the pain inflicted by a club foot.

Wales’ Lily Rice claimed bronze behind Tai, while her Welsh team-mate Medi Harris did likewise in the 100m backstroke. England also earned two bronzes courtesy of James Guy in the 200m butterfly and the women’s 4x200m freestyle team.

Published by anthonyhayble

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