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By Chris Byfield
Colin Jackson believes Eilish McColgan’s epic 10,000m Commonwealth triumph will be a career ‘turning point’ for the experienced Scottish runner.
McColgan followed in her mum Liz’s decorated footsteps on Wednesday night by producing a rousing sprint finish to secure a memorable victory in Birmingham - the first major title of her career.
Roared on by an ear-splitting Alexandra Stadium, the 31-year-old pipped Kenya’s Irine Cheptai on the home straight to win gold and emulate her mother, who had claimed Commonwealth Games 10,000m in 1986 and 1990.
And former Welsh hurdler Jackson, who is also a two time Commonwealth champion as well as an Olympic silver medallist, insists McColgan’s dramatic victory can function as a watershed moment.
He said: “Steve Cram looked at me after the medal ceremony and said, ‘are you alright?’
“I had this massive smile on my face because she epitomises what it’s all about.
“Yes, she had a chance to come here and win. Yes, she’s running so well, but she raced well yesterday as well and I think that’s truly a turning point in her career.
“Now she stands on her own two feet, in her own right as a successful Scottish athlete. She should be really proud of that.
“It was one of those really lovely moments. And it is an English Commonwealth Games, for sure, but it’s a home one for all the home nations because the support was literally identical.”
McColgan’s only previous major outdoor medal was a European 5,000m silver from 2018.
The season has now seen the Scottish star run 5,000m, 10,000m and half-marathon personal bests and now be crowned a Commonwealth champion.
But Jackson reserved his ‘biggest smile’ of the Games for Olivia Breen, who defied the odds to win Wales’ first track and field gold of Birmingham 2022.
The 26-year-old hunted down two-time Paralympic champion Sophie Hahn in the T37/38 100m final on Tuesday, taking first place from her English rival at the line in a personal best 12.83 seconds.
Fellow Welshman Jackson, speaking from the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales, said: “It was outstanding.
“She raced Sophie in the semi-final and Sophie did that victory over her quite comfortably.
“But you’ve got to remember that Olivia has raced Sophie previously in the year and beat her, so it wasn’t such a surprise for us that Sophie had the ability to beat her over the distance.
“Of course, it’s all about what happens during that race. Running your race and being focused to deliver what you can deliver.
“I don’t think Olivia was as surprised as many of the others were because she isolated her race.
“She left us with the biggest smile of the games so far - that’s for sure.”
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