Woodford Green with Essex Ladies’ Daniel Awde described winning a gold medal in the 4x400m relay at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as “surreal, weird and very cool”.
The 26-year-old only switched from the decathlon to the 400m at the beginning of the current season and marked his first Commonwealth Games by securing gold as part of the England team which won the 4x400m on Saturday evening.
“It’s surreal and weird and very, very cool, all at the same time – just because of the journey I’ve gone on,” admitted Awde. “Had you said to me two years ago: ‘By the way, in two years time you’re going to be competing at the Commonwealths and you’re going to win a gold medal,’ I’d be like: ‘What are you talking about?’ And had you have said: ‘Oh, it’s going to be in the 4x400m relay as well, by the way’, I would have thought: ‘What are you on about?’
“It’s very cool, kind of like a dream come true, in a sense. You always want to be on that podium receiving the medals and it’s just a really good feeling,” added Awde.
England finished in a time of 3.00.46, putting them just five hundredths of a second ahead of the Bahamas (3.00.51) in second place, whilst Trinidad and Tobago completed the podium.
Awde ran the penultimate leg, offloading the baton to anchorman Matthew Hudson-Smith with England trailing the Bahamas. Hudson-Smith then seized the initiative and out-sprinted 35-year-old Chris Brown to power across the line and see England to gold at Hampden Park.
England’s victory in the relay came as little surprise to its team members, with Awde adamant the quartet had been confident of securing gold from the outset: “From day one, as soon as we got there, we had a very good feeling about winning this thing. Technically it was home soil for us; OK, it was in Glasgow but in terms of support it wasn’t a Scottish crowd or an English crowd – it was a British crowd.
“From the start we were thinking we could do this; we had the talent, the times and experience to be able to beat the Olympic gold medallists, the Bahamas, and the other strong teams – Jamaica and Trinidad. The only team you’re really missing from the top five in the world is the USA.”
Awde continued: “From day one, we thought we had it. On the day of the final we had our meeting and we picked the team and we had two scenarios as well. One would be Matt on the last leg had the baton about two or three metres in the lead and we saw him winning. The other we saw was Matt got the baton two or three metres behind and we thought he was going to overtake and bring us home. Obviously it was the latter that happened but we were very confident.”
Reflecting on the experience of a ‘home’ Commonwealth Games, Awde enthused: “It was simply awesome. The atmosphere was brilliant and the people there were awesome; ranging from all the volunteers working in the village, the people doing your laundry, the people checking your accreditation before you go into the dining hall, the people just helping you out in the chill out and recreation centres and the people serving your food.
“Everyone was so upbeat and so happy and excited to be there. I got the chance to go out into Glasgow Central and again, the atmosphere was magnificent, everyone was having a great time – athletes as well – there was such a happy unity. It was one of the best environments I've been in.”
The night before Awde’s success, Tiffany Porter won Woodford Green’s second medal at the Commonwealth Games by taking silver in the women’s 100m hurdles.
England’s Porter crossed the line in a time of 12.80 to finish just behind Australia’s Sally Pearson, who managed a time of 12.67.
The Michigan-born hurdler qualified for Friday night’s final by winning her qualifying heat on Thursday evening with a time of 12.84, finishing comfortably ahead of Jamaica’s Danielle Williams (13.15) in second place.
Porter, 26, became her club’s second medal winner after Mark Dry won bronze for Scotland in the hammer throw last Tuesday.