Nikki Hamblin fifth in women's 1500m final

22:23, Jul 29 2014
Lauren Boyle
New Zealand's Lauren Boyle celebrates after winning gold in the women's 400m freestyle.
Lauren Boyle
Kiwi swimmer Lauren Boyle competes in the women's 400m freestyle.
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New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe on her way to a gold medal in the para sport women's 200m medley.
Sophie Pascoe
Sophie Pascoe reacts after winning her second gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
Sophie Pascoe
Sophie Pascoe, centre, poses with her gold medal alongside Australia’s Katherine Downie and Canada’s Aurelie Rivard.
Charlotte Sullivan
New Zealand’s Charlotte Sullivan competes on the beam during the women's team event at SECC Precinct in Glasgow.
Anton Cooper
New Zealand's Sam Gaze and Anton Cooper take out the gold and silver medal in the men's mountainbike race.
Anton Cooper
New Zealander Anton Cooper shows off his gold medal from the men's mountainbike race.
Anton Cooper
Anton Cooper competes in the men's mountainbike race.
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England's Nick Catlin tries to escape the attentions of Black Sticks veteran Simon Child at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
Nikki Hamblin
The Kenyan trio run as a pack up the side of the field to get themselves in front where they formed a wall to control the pace of the women's 1500m final.
Nikki Hamblin
Kenyan runners form a wall at the front of the women's 1500m race, leaving New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin (pictured here in fourth) little room to move.
Nikki Hamblin
New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin showed good form in the final of the women's 1500m.
Nikki Hamblin
Nikki Hamblin gave it everything in the sprint to the line, but Kenya's gold medal winner Faith Kibiegon was just too far ahead.

With a wall of Kenyans in front of her, going at walking pace, the alarm bells sounded for Nikki Hamblin at Hampden Park.

When the sprint went on in the Commonwealth Games women's 1500m final with half a lap left, it was a lottery and a moment's hesitation would be costly. Hamblin, the second-fastest qualifier, finished fifth behind Kenyan Faith Kibiegon who clocked a dawdling time of 4min 8.94sec.

Hamblin's 4:10.77 was nearly 6sec slower than her year's best in yesterday's heats, providing an illustration of how sluggish the early pace was in the final.

Nikki Hamblin
NOT THIS TIME: Nikki Hamblin clocked 4min 10.77sec in a slowly run 1500m final to finish fifth and miss out on a medal.

"I felt really good and felt I was in a really good position. I got caught a little bit before 200m to go and a lot of girls came around me.

''When it's a slow race like that whoever kicks first is going to win nine times out of 10. The kick came and I was just in too much traffic," Hamblin said.

"I made a mistake with 200-250m to go. I can't say that cost me a medal, but I did what I could out there."

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Nikki Hamblin
NOT THIS TIME: Kiwi runner Nikki Hamblin clocked 4min 10.77sec in a slowly run 1500m final to finish fifth and miss out on a medal.

England's Laura Weightman and Canada's Kate van Buskirk stayed out of trouble and chased Kibiegon home for the minor medals, while Kenyan Hellen Obiri, the fastest qualifier, finished sixth behind Hamblin.

The 26-year-old New Zealander came in as a strong medal contender after her slick heat run, with silver medals in the 800m and 1500m to her name from Delhi four years ago.

She was in the first two early on, then the three Kenyans loomed up to control the race at snail's pace. Hamblin was positioned well, in behind the trio, but when Kibiegon put the foot down it was all on. She said she would have much preferred a fast run race, but as a distance runner she had to be prepared for anything.

Local favourite Laura Muir suffered a bad check coming into the home straight and Scottish media questioned Hamblin about it after the two appeared to come together.

"With 120m to go everyone is there and everyone is pushing and trying to find the space. There probably was [a bump]... yeah."

Hamblin plans to back up in the 800m heats (11pm tonight NZT) alongside team-mate Angie Smit, the national champion. It's a short turnaround and strange scheduling, with Hamblin having little more than 12 hours to recover from her exertions.

"I'm excited to come back, the crowd and the atmosphere is awesome and I don't want to give away another opportunity to be on the start line.

"It's a pretty tough turnaround. I'm not a renowned sleeper after racing and it will take a few coffees to get me to the start line.

"You get an opportunity at this once every two years and I don't want to give that away. It's not going to be easy, it's really strong the 800m."

Still it was an encouraging return for the 26-year-old, who was born in England but gained New Zealand citizenship in 2009. She was devastated to miss the London Olympics due to bone spurs on both heels, and underwent major surgery in September 2012 and only began jogging again 18 months ago.

She looked to be playing catch-up with her fitness and times in the leadup to Glasgow, and admitted she surprised herself with her slick run in the heats.

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