England’s Matt Hudson-Smith was sensationally denied Commonwealth gold as Zambia’s Muzala Samukonga rode to the 400m victory in the final steps.
World bronze medalist Hudson-Smith entered the straight with a decent lead but got stuck as the line beckoned.
Zambia’s Samukonga did the opposite, rising from fourth place at 350 meters to take the win.
“I got away with a medal, it’s not the color I wanted,” said Hudson-Smith.
“I tightened it up at home, so I probably could have done it a little differently.”
Victoria Ohuruogu, sister of former World and Olympic champion Christine, again took silver for England in the women’s race, with teammate Jodie Williams securing the bronze.
Samukonga level up to win
African champion Samukonga had not broken 45 seconds before arriving in Birmingham, but followed his personal best of 44.89 seconds in Wednesday’s heats with a perfectly judged performance of 44.66 in the final.
Raising the 19-year-old to a new level and a major title brought an award.
Physically exhausted, he seemed to collapse on the track as he feasted with his compatriots in the crowd. After being cared for by track officials, he was taken in a wheelchair for further treatment.
Hudson-Smith spent the immediate aftermath cross-legged on the track, trying to calculate what had happened.
With Bahamian Olympic champion Steven Gardiner, Grenada’s Kirani James and Kenyan Emmanuel Korir all missing the final, he was favorite to take a win in his hometown.
Hudson-Smith was born in Wolverhampton and grew up as an athlete on this track.
The tactic earned him a medal in Eugene last month, but it seemed to cost him gold in Birmingham.
Hudson-Smith’s stride shortened drastically as he attempted to take the win, allowing Samukonga to slip to a dramatic victory.
His time of 44.81 seconds was his fifth fastest of the season so far.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t take it home,” Hudson-Smith said afterwards. “But you were a great audience, thanks to the volunteers, and it was a great experience.”
More to follow.