GOLD COAST, Australia — Yohan Blake received an encouraging message from Usain Bolt before his Commonwealth Games debut, telling him: “I believe in you.”

That came in the wake of another one from his fellow Jamaican that was more direct, Blake recalled: “You’ve got to win … or you can’t go home.”

No pressure at all. The 2011 world champion kicked off his Gold Coast 2018 campaign by qualifying fastest for the final after winning his semifinal heat in 10.06 seconds Sunday. That followed a 10.15 in his opening heat on the first afternoon of the track and field competition at the Carrara Stadium.

Blake wants to add a Commonwealth title to his collection from the Olympics and world championships and, considering Bolt is the only person who has ever run faster times in the 100, he has a good chance.

“There’s a lot more in the tank,” Blake said.

Kemar Hyman of the Cayman Islands was next-quickest qualifier for Monday’s final in 10.10, fractionally ahead of Adam Gimili of England and Akani Simbine of South Africa.

England’s Asha Philip led qualifiers into the women’s 100 final by winning her semifinal heat in 11.21 seconds. She was 0.01 ahead of Jamaica’s Christania Williams and 0.04 ahead of Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago.

There was a shock in the pool in the blue-ribbon 100 freestyle, with Scotland’s Duncan Scott edging Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers, who had to share silver with Chad le Clos of South Africa after a dead-heat for second.

“It is just I wasn’t fast enough on the night,” Chalmers said.

In the women’s 200 backstroke, Canadians Kylie Masse and Taylor Ruck finished 1-2 ahead of Australia’s Emily Seebohm.

Chalmers finished off the night by helping the Australians win the 4×200-meter relay.

Australia leads the medal standings with 31 gold medals and 84 overall, with England in second spot with 19 gold and 47 medals. Canada and India have seven gold medals apiece, Scotland with six, followed by New Zealand and South Africa with four golds each and Wales with three.

Elsewhere at the games on Day 4:


TRACK AND FIELD — Uganda got its first gold medal of the games when Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei won the 5,000 meters in 13 minutes, 50.83 seconds from Mohammed Ahmed of Canada and Kenya’s Edward Pingua Zakayo.

The first gold medal inside the track and field stadium went to England’s Nick Miller, who broke a 12-year-old games record with a hammer throw of 80.26 meters. Australia’s Matt Denny took silver at 74.88m and Mark Dry of Scotland produced a final throw of 73.12 to overtake Canada’s Adam Keenan for bronze.

The first gold medals in the athletics program were awarded in the 20-kilometer race walks, with Australia winning both the morning events.

Jemima Montag won the women’s gold after race-leading Claire Tallent was disqualified with two kilometers to go.

The 20-year-old Montag finished the Currumbin Beachfront course in 1: 32.50, with Alana Barber of New Zealand taking silver and Bethan Davies of Wales picking up the bronze.

Montag said the disqualification was “heartbreaking” for Tallent.

“It’s not the way that I would have liked to win gold but when things like that happen, you have to stay in the moment and not lose focus,” Montag said.

Dane Bird-Smith set a games record 1:19.34 to win the men’s race ahead of England’s Tom Bosworth and Samuel Ireri Tathimba of Kenya.


BACK IN CYCLE — Matthew Glaetzer won the kilo time trial, a day after the sprint world champion’s tactical blunder led to a stunning early exit in his favorite race.

“It’s a big day, I bounced back after a shocking day yesterday which was shattering for me,” Glaetzer said. “This is really good to come back and … get one back for Australia, because I owed them one for yesterday.”

The Australians also won gold via Amy Cure in the women’s scratch race and Stephanie Morton, who increased her golden tally to three with victory in the keirin.


THORPEDOED — Nothing was going to torpedo this Australian swimming great’s commentary gig — not even the police.

Ian Thorpe had to walk to work on Saturday night after Queensland state police stopped the car he was traveling in on suspicion it was stolen. The car had interstate license plates and was impounded. Police later confirmed the car was OK and nobody was charged or fined.

Gold Coast 2018 Chairman Peter Beattie said it was a reasonable misunderstanding.

“If there’s any breaches of the law regardless of who it is, it’s administered equally and fairly,” said Beattie, a former Queensland state premier. “I’m sure Ian and others who were with him would have preferred that not to have happened, and so would we, but the reality is if the police believe a crime has been committed they will enforce the law.”


NET SET, WOE — This is a major upset. New Zealand, which has reached the final every time netball has been played at the Commonwealth Games and has won two gold medals, was upset 57-53 by Malawi.

The Malawi players piled on in celebration and danced in delight, and with good cause. The outcome means New Zealand has to beat England to ensure a spot in the top four.