Daryll Neita relishing prospect of 100m gold battle with Elaine Thompson-Herah

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England’s Daryll Neita declared she is ready to challenge Elaine Thompson-Herah for Commonwealth Games gold.

The 25-year-old clocked 11.02 seconds to win her 100m heat at the Alexander Stadium on Tuesday.

She reached Wednesday’s semi-final ahead of an expected final showdown with reigning Olympic 100m champion Thompson-Herah.

With Dina Asher-Smith out after suffering a hamstring injury at last month’s World Championships the spotlight is on Neita who is primed to challenge for top spot.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Day Five
England’s Keely Hodgkinson (second from right) qualifies for the 800m final at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (Isaac Parkin/PA Images).

“I’m always aiming for gold. Any time I step on the track I want gold. I’m going to get as close as I can,” said last year’s 100m Olympic finalist.

“It was nice to come out after what’s been a long week of travel and readjusting to the UK. It’s nice to win the heat and get ready for the final tomorrow.”

Scotland’s Laura Muir, who won 1500m bronze in Eugene last month, also reached her 800m final in one minute 58.84 seconds, joining Keely Hodgkinson and Alexandra Bell in Saturday’s showpiece.

She said: “I headed home (from the Worlds) straight after the final more or less. I was lucky my race was at the start of the programme so I had a bit of time to get over it.

“My training has been really good since I got home and if anything I think I’m just going to be getting fitter. I just hope by the weekend I’ll be in a good place to get on that podium.

“I feel I’m really competitive in both events. I’ve not run the Commonwealth Games for eight years. It’s on relatively home-ish ground so it’s very close and it was too good an opportunity not to do. I feel strong and fit enough to do both and run well in both (the 800m and 1500m).”

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Day Five
England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson is happy with her progress in the women’s heptathlon high jump (Isaac Parkin/PA Images).

Also in Birmingham, defending heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson sits first after the opening morning.

She is just 17 points ahead of Australia’s Taneille Crase and 32 clear of England team-mate Holly Mills.

The 26-year-old, who won in the Gold Coast four years ago, is coming off the back of finishing eighth in the heptathlon at the World Championships, losing the title she won in 2019 to Olympic champion Nafi Thiam.

She was fifth in 13.83 seconds in the opening heat of the 100m hurdles with Mills second in 13.52 and England team-mate Jade O’Dowda third before clearing 1.84m in the high jump.

In the men’s 100m heats, defending champion, South Africa’s Akani Simbine, eased into the semi-final.

England’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and Ojie Edoburun also reached Wednesday’s semi-final with Wales’ Jeremiah Azu also qualifying.

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