Nikki Hamblin is inspired by a rising black tide
MARK GEENTY IN GLASGOW
Nikki Hamblin will be inspired by the deeds of her team-mates when she attempts a third Commonwealth Games medal today, her confidence restored by a sharp 1500m heat.
Few were more surprised than Hamblin after she qualified second fastest for today's women's final (8.50am NZT), giving her a chance to add to her dual silvers in the 800m and 1500m in Delhi four years ago.
Having doubted whether she'd be ready, less than two years after major surgery to remove bone spurs on both heels, her season's best time of 4min 05.08sec was just the tonic.
Only Kenya's Hellen Obiri, who won the heat, ran faster on the day, clocking a Games record 4:04.43.
''I'm competing now, I'm not just hanging on,'' Hamblin said.
''I'm going to go out and do the same [today]; I'm going to give it everything I've got and see what comes of it.'' Hamblin, 26, said she'd been nervous for three days before her heat at Hampden Park.
For most of her season she was in catch-up mode as she chased New Zealand team-mate Angie Smit and looked to be taking time to return to the sharpness of Delhi.
Having run a B qualifying time in the United States, she burst out of the blocks with her second-fastest 1500m on day two at the track, after marvelling at some of the deeds of New Zealand athletes on day one.
''I'm lucky I'm part of an awesome New Zealand athletics team. Look at what Tom [Walsh] and Julia [Ratcliffe] did, and what Zane [Robertson] did and probably what Jake [Robertson] could have done if he didn't have that unfortunate fall. I just want to be part of that and make them proud of me like I'm proud of them,'' she said.
''I'll still be really nervous, I know that, but also I've got nothing to lose.''
Hamblin's toughest to beat will be the two Kenyans, Obiri and Faith Kibiegon, who won heat two in the sixth-fastest time of 4:05.77, and Scotland's Laura Muir who was a narrow third behind Hamblin in 4:05.19.
It could begin a run of girl power to the podium in the black uniform, with Valerie Adams' shot put final tomorrow morning (NZT) and Smit and potentially Hamblin contesting the 800m heats on Friday along with Siositina Hakeai in the discus, ranked fourth in the Commonwealth.