Sally at the Peake of her powers to win silver

SILVER: Welsh pole vault star Sally Peake

SILVER: Welsh pole vault star Sally Peake

First published in Sport
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South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

WELSH pole vaulter Sally Peake claimed the first Glasgow 2014 medal for Welsh Athletics on a soaking wet final night of action at Hampden Park.

Peake was part of the the final medal ceremony at the Glasgow stadium after winning silver behind Australian defending champion Alana Boyd as they followed Usain Bolt and the Jamaican relay team.

It was Wales' 35th of the Commonwealth Games and she was delighted to be on the podium having gone into the competition ranked fifth in the world.

"It's awesome and I am really glad to have a silver medal around my neck," said the North Walian.

"I really hoped that if I could jump as I could I would be up in the medals.

"It was an amazing way to finish off the Games with a medal for Wales.

"I also got my selfie with Usain Bolt so I am also happy with that!"

A former Welsh junior triple jump champion and senior long jumper, Peake praised her coach Scott Simpson who is also the Wales national performance boss.

"He's the whole reason I have got this medal and I am completely indebted to him," she added.

"He has been my pole vault coach since the beginning.

"We were so prepared for tonight in terms of the performance but also the little preparation things.

"I had the massive coats to keep warm and all these little things helped."

Monsoon conditions saw the vaulters struggle with their run-ups and the competition delayed and restarted with only four out of 10 competitors achieving a successful effort.

Some of the competitors were complaining and Peake admitted she had thought the event might have been called off with the back-up plan involving another tournament on Sunday behind closed door at a different venue.

"I thought it might be called off at one point because it was that heavy and it was quite dangerous," said Peake.

"No part of me wanted it not to happen and I wanted my Commonwealth Games experience.

"When the rain started to ease I was glad we could carry on.

"But it was a crazy night to try and pole vault.

"It was not about who could jump high, it was just about who could come away with a medal and I am delighted with the silver.

"I have never been in a competition which was that bad. We had a delay in the warm-up and halfway through the competition.

"Staying focused through all that was important because I have never experienced anything like that.

"The kind of crazy night it was just meant it was about clearing the bar.

"They were terrible conditions. I have not competed in rain that heavy but I have competed in rain so I know the little tactics which helped me.

"As soon as the pole was hitting the floor your grips were soaking wet and it was so dangerous.

"After every job I untaped and retaped my poles. You can imagine having to do that is pretty crazy and you get in a rush.

"If you land on a pit you get soaking wet and very cold but we had all the right preparations."

The 28-year-old's leading clearance was 4.25m while Boyd went onto scale 4.50m. But Peake had gold in her sights at one point as Boyd had one final attempt at 4.25m which she cleared. If the Australian had failed, Peake would have been Commonwealth champion.

"I was watching that with half an eye," she admitted.

"I thought maybe at the moment I could have got the gold but she jumped really well and deserved the gold.

"I am more than happy with the silver."

Peake loved the Glasgow atmosphere typified by her dance when she achieved her first clearance in the driving rain.

"I have never celebrated four metres so much in my life," added the Hawarden star.

"Everybody was failing and when I produced my four metre bar it was coming down very hard.

"I was so glad I managed to clear it and it showed."

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