Oliver Brown on the 'lunacy' of Team Australia's Covid policies
With a golden flourish, 17-year-old diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix cemented her status as England’s most successful woman at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, adding mixed synchronised 10m platform gold to her earlier diving gold and silver.
It also helped England surpass their record Commonwealth Games medal tally from Glasgow 2014, ending the event with 176 medals. Their 57 golds was one less than they managed in Glasgow.
Until now, Spendolini-Sirieix has largely been known for her famous father, Fred Sirieix, who found fame as a maitre d’ on Channel 4’s First Dates. If his daughter carries on at this rate, Fred might soon be best known for his association with Britain’s star diver.
Having already won 10m platform gold and women’s synchronised 10m platform silver, she kept her podium record intact by combining with Noah Williams in Monday morning’s mixed competition to pick up her second gold. This was the first time mixed gender diving has been included in the Commonwealth Games.
Only after their first dive - the easiest and lowest scoring of the contest - did they sit anywhere other than first, effectively sealing gold when they nailed their penultimate inward three-and-a-half somersaults dive.
That helped reach a total points tally of 333.06, to beat fellow English pair Kyle Kothari and Lois Toulson by 14.52 points.
“This has definitely exceeded what I hoped. I came here with no expectations,” said Spendolini-Sirieix. “I just wanted to have fun and improve all of my dives. I made a decision to train even harder than I was over the last couple of months and it definitely worked.
“I’m not going to put pressure on myself. Whether there is external pressure or not, the internal pressure is the one which makes you crumble.”
Spendolini-Sirieix and Williams celebrated their success with a belly flop into the pool alongside their silver medal-winning compatriots.
“I told Noah: ‘If we do well we can all belly flop,’” said Spendolini-Sirieix. “So I got Kyle, Lois, me and Noah and said: ‘Come on guys, let’s go and belly flop.’ They didn’t really know what was happening but we had fun and it was the perfect way to end the competition.”
Victory also provided Williams with a second gold after he triumphed in the men’s synchronised 10m platform.
“Because it’s not in the Olympics, I think some people take it less seriously,” said Williams, of the mixed gender event. “Obviously, it’s here at the Commonwealth Games so we take it seriously, but we could definitely enjoy ourselves more.
“You don’t come into a Games expecting medals. The last Games I got a silver, so two golds is very good.
“Andrea is just 17 and she’s showing the world how good she is. We’ve got amazing depth in British diving.”
There was also diving success for Scotland, with world mixed synchronised 3m springboard medalists James Heatly and Grace Reid taking gold in the event.
“It’s insane, I’m over the moon,” said Heatly. “I’m really happy to do this with Grace and to save all of this for the last day. If it becomes an event at the Olympics then we’re up for it.”
England's men claim hockey bronze
By Ben Bloom
England’s masked man Sam Ward helped fire the men’s hockey team to a third successive Commonwealth bronze on Monday morning, as they put months of difficulty behind them to end their campaign on a high.
Ward suffered seven facial fractures and a torn retina when he took a ball to the left eye during a match in 2019, which left him suffering flashbacks every time he heard the sound of a stick on ball.
Despite now only possessing peripheral vision in that eye, he fought back to regain his starting spot and scored one - and was harshly denied another - as England triumphed 6-3 over the part-timers of South Africa in the bronze-medal match.
“You doubt yourself and never know if you’re going to carry on,” said Ward, of his battle to return. “But there’s something deep down inside that, even as an old boy in the squad, I just want to keep playing.
“It’s a big, special moment for me today after the eye injury. It’s the first medal since that and it’s made all the hard work worth it.”
Asked about Ward’s recovery, England captain Zach Wallace said: “It’s incredible, the determination. What he’s been through, that injury would knock most people out, career done.”
Wallace, who was captain for the first time during a major competition, was elated to win a medal following a rocky build-up.
After finding themselves “demotivated and gutted” to lose in the Olympic quarter-finals last year, the team suffered multiple injuries to key players in recent months and played in Birmingham with one member of the squad missing after Brendan Creed was injured in the opening match.
They were also without a permanent head coach for a period following the departure of Danny Kerry at the start of the year, with his successor Paul Revington only taking up the role last month.
“It says volumes about the group, spirit and fight that we have come away with a medal,” said Wallace. “We are in a seriously good place now.”
Much of the action took place in a hectic 12-minute period before half-time, in which six goals were scored.
Matt Guise-Brown, who is a school teacher in north London, Mustapha Cassiem, and Nqobile Ntuli scored for South Africa, while England’s Rhys Smith, Liam Ansell and Ward matched them for a 3-3 scoreline at the break.
Smith’s was the pick of the bunch, when he looked to have run out of space inside the circle, only to turn past one defender, nutmeg another and shoot past the South African keeper.
Roper regained England’s lead and then added a second when he was fortunate to be credited with the slightest touch on Ward’s shot from a tight angle. Captain Wallace stepped up to seal the deal from a penalty stroke with 90 seconds remaining.
After the women’s team won their first ever Commonwealth title on Sunday, Wallace said there is “serious optimism” two years out from the Paris Olympics.
“Going into the tournament we wanted a gold medal and that’s the direction the group wants to go in,” he said. “I’ve been playing for four years now and that’s my first medal. I’m absolutely buzzing and to pick ourselves up from [the semi-final defeat] was great. Our performance wasn’t great but we got over the line in the end.
“We were buzzing for [the women], but at the same time we don’t want them to get too many up on us!
“There is huge excitement building around England hockey, both the men and the women. They are doing incredibly well, winning gold for the first time, and we are definitely on the right track. We want to keep pushing better and better.”
Later, Australia won the gold as they thrashed India 7-0 in the final.
Also, on the last day of the Games, England won three silvers in badminton doubles (men's, women's, mixed). Lauren Smith had the bittersweet experience of finishing runner-up twice in a day. Squash veteran James Willstrop and partner James Declan won gold in the doubles.
Final day of the Commonwealth Games, as it happened
And in the men's doubles squash
It was an all-English affair in the final. The pairing of James Willstrop and James Declan beat countrymen Adrian Waller and Daryl Selby 2-1. And I think I am right in saying that every event in the games has now concluded.
Indeed so. Let's turn it over to Ben Bloom. Thanks for following today and throughout the event. Goodbye.
Australia's men have wrapped up the hockey gold
it finished 7-0 against India.
England settle for silver in the women's badminton
That took just 33 minutes for them to dispatch the English pair, who look absolutely battered into submission. Congrats to Koong Le Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan, worthy gold medal winners.
Lauren Smith bags yet another Commonwealth medal, a seventh. She won silver earlier today in the mixed.
Malaysians romp home 21-5 in the opener
England struggling to hang on in this final.
Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch look to have their work cut out here. The Malaysian women have raced to an 11-2 advantage in the opening game.
Returning to the badminton
for what I think will be one of the last medals of the games. Malaysia play England for gold.
The home side are represented by Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch. For Malaysia, Koong Le Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan. Will she summon the magic of Muttiah?
And in the table tennis
Liam Pitchford had to settle for silver after being well beaten by Sharath Kamal Achanta of India.
Men's hockey final
England won the bronze as I mentioned before. In the final, it is Australia 7 (seven) India 0 at the time of writing. Fortunately for India, it's the fourth quarter so I think we can confidently chalk this one up to the gold and green.
Doubles squash now
Can't be dealing with it. Just looks so crowded. One too many person on a squash court even with singles. They must be permanently smacking each other. Do not want.
Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy of New Zealand have beaten Sarah-Jane Perry and Alison Waters of England in the gold medal battle.
Badminton gold goes to India
Those guys were just too good in the end. Seriously impressive. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty really do take some beating.
Decent effort in the diving
The Indian pair has won the first set
What can Ben and Sean do to stem the tide?
And staying with the England and India theme
It's men's mixed doubles badminton now. Ben Lane and Sean Vendy are locked in a battle royale here with Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Chandrashekhar Shetty who of course need no introduction.
Men's singles table tennis gold match
And coming up, it is the gold medal match in which Liam Pitchford and Sharath Kamal Achanta face off. Again it's England against India.
Table tennis men's singles bronze
It's turning into a thriller between Paul Drinkhall of England and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran of India. Paul was 7-1 down in the deciding game and has got it back to 9-9, but the Indian prevails in the end. Paul was 3-0 down in games as well. Thrown everything at it but Gnanasekaran takes the bronze in the end.
Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix speak
Andrea: "a PB for us and I am really pleased with how our synchro was. I told Noah if we win we should belly flop into the pool. Focus on Europeans next, take a break and then come back even stronger."
Noah: "Yeah we aimed to have a bit of fun and enjoy ourselves. It has been incredible to have all these fans here. Normally at nationals it is just the parents that turn up so this has been so great."
Gold for Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix!
Brilliant final dive for Noah and Andrea. That's her third medal at the games, two golds and a silver for the 17-year-old who could go on to be a star of British sport. Fantastic. Second gold for Noah too.
Fourth dive for
Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix. Nailed it! That's a brilliant dive. They storm into the lead again.
Andrea's dad Fred was the Maitre D at Galvin at Windows for many years and later a television personality. He was on an excellent show called Service, with Michel Roux Jr where they trained unlikely lads and lasses to work in Michelin type restaurants. Had a lot of heart, I thought.
Anyway, Andrea going great and every chance of adding to her gold in Women's 10 metre platform and silver in Women's synchronised 10 metre platform
Both English pairs going well in the diving
Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix are in first place. Kyle Kothari and Lois Mae Toulson are in second. All changing quickly of course.
Men's doubles badminton ahoy
England will be taking on India.
Quite looking forward to the closing ceremony
Goldie, UB40, and Dexys.
DEXYS MIDNIGHT RUNNERS AT THE COMMONWEALTH! We're excited to announce that tonight we will be performing at the @birminghamcg22 Closing Ceremony! We are so grateful to have been asked to perform Come On Eileen! See you tonight! pic.twitter.com/y5h9nlx9rT
— Dexys (@DexysOfficial) August 8, 2022
We stay with the diving
it's still synchro, it's still mixed, but this here is the 10m platform.
Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini Sirieix are into the lead. We are all rooting for Fred's girl.
Quotes from Scotland's diving heroes
Grace Reid: "So happy, we have both had some disappointments. We had a great performance in Budapest and we carried that through to today. Now? I need a lie down - and then we are going to have pizza!"
James Heatly: "All I could hear was the crowd. So happy to do this with Grace, and to save it to the end is amazing. If this event is in the Olympics then we would love to do it.
Scotland win diving gold!
Go Scotland. They are the first winners of this event, the 3m synchro. James Heatly and Grace Reid have done it, shocking the favourite Aussies into silver medal place.
England win the bronze in the men's hockey
It finishes 6-3, the Saffers had made a strong start but England scored three without reply from 3-3.
The Aussies have failed to deliver!
The Scots are in the gold medal spot as it stands.
Next up, England. They are in 8th. Decent dive, but more to the point, the English lad's trunks nearly came off in the water and he had to hoick them up. Can't say fairer than that for a bit of Monday morning entertainment.
Big moment for Scotland
in the diving. Grace Reid and James Healy are making their final dive.... it's a good one! They go into the lead and have every chance of a medal. But an anxious wait too - there are still nine more pairs to go, including the Malaysians and the Australians.
England are within touching distance
Of hockey bronze now surely - they have scored again to make it 5-3 against South Africa.
The Scottish diving coaches
Two women, are both pregnant. "Synchro bumps," jokes the BBC diving commentator. Tremendous.
Over in the hockey
England have gone 4-3 up!
This synchro diving
has required rounds where they do technically simple (I mean, relatively like!) dives and it's all down to how well you do it. None of the triple whipping around while doing the Macarena thing that you see from the Chinese guys in the Olympics. But still very aesthetic to watch and cool that the men and women do it together. Apparently they cannot use too big of a male diver because it means they don't enter the water at the same time.
Mixed synchro diving now
That's off the 3m springboard. It gives me no pleasure to report that the Aussies are red-hot favourites. Shixin Li and Maddison Keeney are looking very strong as well, with a erm good dive there.
For England, a late drama: Jordan Houlden stepped in at the last minute to partner Yasmin Harper when MAtthew Dixon was injured. They have never done a synchro dive together before. So no baggage, right? Just go out there and enjoy yourselves?
Bit of a classic shaping up in the hockey
It's 3-3 going into the third quarter between England's men and those of South Africa.
But the hockey has come alive in the second quarter
Matthew Guise-Brown put South Africa ahead from a penalty corner. Rhys Smith equalised. Mustapha Cassiem restored the lead not long after. And now Smith has made it level pegging again at 2-2.
Men's hockey bronze
It was 0-0 after the first quarter between England and South Africa.
Here's the medals in the badminton mixed doubles
Coming up: it's the bronze medal
men's hockey. England vs South Africa.
Mixed doubles badminton
Sorry to report that England's pair have come up short against Singapore, and will have to settle for silver.
Lauren Smith and Marcus Ellis get silver. That's Lauren's SIXTH Commonwealth Games gong, but sadly yet to pouch one of the desired metal.
But England also have a pair in the men's doubles, and women's doubles finals later.
Goldie is on BBC Breakfast
They get everyone on there! Mainly people from the 1990s on the evidence so far but I am keeping an open mind.
On the menu
Monday August 8
Badminton - 8am-2.15pm
Hockey - 9am-11.30pm, 12.30pm-3pm
Table tennis and para table tennis - 9.30am-1.15pm
Diving - 10am-1pm
Squash - 10am-2.30pm
Closing ceremony - 8pm-10pm
Apache Indian to play Closing Ceremony.
Some information about the Closing Ceremony
Jorja Smith, Beverley Knight and UB40 are among the acts confirmed to perform at the 2022 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony in Birmingham.
The Games will draw to a close after 11 days of sporting action with a high-octane production celebrating the musical heritage of the West Midlands.
The closing ceremony, at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, will see performances from artists including Apache Indian, Beverley Knight, Dexys Midnight Runners, Goldie, Jacob Banks, Jaykae and Jorja Smith.
Laura Mvula, Ash, Mahalia and Musical Youth will also be performing, along with Neelam Gill, Panjabi MC, Talulah-Eve, The Selecter and UB40.
In a tribute to one of Birmingham's major exports of the past decade, the closing ceremony will feature a sequence from the much-anticipated theatre show Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby.
British singer Mvula will give a special performance of a newly commissioned track inspired by Nick Cave's Red Right Hand, the TV series' theme song.
Written and adapted for the stage by the show's creator Steven Knight, the theatre production will receive its world premiere at Birmingham Hippodrome on September 27 as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival.
Martin Green, chief creative officer of the Birmingham Games, said: "With this closing ceremony, we wanted to create a spectacular line-up of global artists from the West Midlands for an exhilarating musical production to conclude an unforgettable 11 days of sport and culture.
"The medley of high-octane performances will celebrate the vibrant energy and cultural heritage of this incredible city, as we bring these spectacular home Games to a fitting end."
The closing ceremony will also include a formal handover to the state of Victoria, Australia, which is hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
The closing ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and will signal the end of an event in which 4,500 Commonwealth athletes competed across 19 sports and eight para sports.
The ceremony takes place on Monday at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium.
I never normally watch this, but they've got Wor Sir Big Al Shearer on, talking about Erling Haaland and about breaking Jackie Milburn's record in front of the Gallowgate End.
Commonwealth Games final day
Good morning! Happy Monday. Welcome to our live blog of the final day of the Commonwealth Games. There are all sorts of important medal matters still to be settled, and then there is a closing ceremony this evening.
Already underway bright and early this morning it’s the final of the mixed doubles badminton. England's Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith are in action against Singapore's Yong Hee and Jessica Tan, and that comes from the NEC. I think I’ll put on my Hamish Hawk record right now: are you familiar with his song, The Mauritian Doubles Badminton Champion, 1973? Magnificent stuff.
After the shuttlecockery is settled, we have various other tasty morsels to bring you this sunny morning. England’s men play South Africa in the hockey for the bronze medal, and after that, the Aussies and the Indians go for gold. We have table tennis, we have diving - that'll be 3m mixed synchronised springboard, and then 10m mixed synchronised platform. We've also got squash.
I expect we will also get some reaction throughout the day about how the Games have gone overall, what it means for the country, what it means to have a Commonwealth Games at all, what it means for these athletes and so on. If you have a view you'd like to share, why not leave a comment below and we can see how we get on?
Everyone seems pretty happy with how things have gone in Brum. The sports minister is "very keen" to back a Birmingham bid for the Olympics in 2040 but has admitted the move could be blocked by the Treasury.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Nigel Huddleston said: "I'd be very keen on it because I think it's important that we do bid for major international sporting events.
"The great opportunity for Birmingham is it's put itself on the map as a fantastic city to host major international sporting events, and I don't see why the Olympics shouldn't be in the consideration.
"Unfortunately I don't always sign the cheques, it's usually a discussion with the Treasury.
"But usually we can make a really good case because, as well as lifting the mood of the nation, there is a cold hard cash benefit to many of these events."