Commonwealth Games: Bethany Firth claims gold for NI, while Duncan Scott and Ben Proud also win

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Commonwealth Games: Bethany Firth claims gold for NI, while Duncan Scott and Ben Proud also win
Hosts: Birmingham Dates: 28 July to 8 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV with extra streams on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport mobile app; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live text and clips online.

Bethany Firth took Northern Ireland’s first Commonwealth gold in the pool – and the nation’s first at Birmingham 2022 – between victories for Scotland’s Duncan Scott and England’s Ben Proud.

Six-time Paralympic champion Firth added Commonwealth gold to her collection in the 200m freestyle S14.

Earlier, Scott beat English rival Tom Dean to 200m individual medley gold.

Proud won the 50m freestyle, before Dean finally claimed a relay gold after six silvers in Birmingham.

It was Proud’s third successive Commonwealth title in the event and he won ahead of compatriot Lewis Burras.

Dean secured gold in his final race of the 2022 Games as he anchored England’s men to a narrow 4x100m medley relay victory.

Scotland took relay bronze as Scott, 25, extended his lead as the team’s most decorated Commonwealth athlete with his 13th medal.

Daniel Wiffen later added to Northern Ireland’s unprecedented success in the pool with 1500m freestyle silver – and an Irish record of 14 minutes 51.79 seconds – as England’s Luke Turley claimed bronze.

In the final swimming race of the Games, England’s women took 4x100m medley bronze behind gold medallists Australia and second-placed Canada.

Firth, 26, took her victory in two minutes 7.02 seconds as England’s Jessica-Jane Applegate claimed silver and Louise Fiddes bronze.

The 27-year-old Proud, who won 50m butterfly gold earlier in the Games, took freestyle victory in 21.36 seconds, with Burras touching in at 21.68 and Canada’s Josh Liendo claiming bronze in 22.02.

“To be able to say I have been here for eight years consistently at the top is brilliant,” Proud said.

“I held off the young guns one more year.”

‘I have the full collection now’ – Firth

Having never claimed a Commonwealth swimming medal before, Northern Ireland have had a dream Games at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre.

Barry McClements won the nation’s first Commonwealth medal in the pool as he took 100m backstroke S9 bronze on Friday.

As well as her Paralympic achievements, Firth has three world titles and said: “This has given me the full collection now.

“I am so thankful to be here and I am so glad my family can be here to watch me because they couldn’t be there in Tokyo [at the Paralympic Games].

“They do so much for me and I love them so much and I hope I made them proud.”

Following Firth’s victory, Wiffen claimed his silver as he completed 1500m in a personal best as Australia’s Sam Short finished first in 14: 48.54.

‘Rivalries get the best out of us’ – Scott

Scott and Dean are good friends outside of the pool, but have pushed each other close throughout the Games.

Scott finished the 200m individual medley in a Games-record one minute 56.88 seconds, with Dean 0.13secs behind.

After taking 200m freestyle silver behind Dean at the Olympics, Scott beat the Englishman to that title in Birmingham. Dean then took 100m freestyle silver as Scott finished third.

“Rivalries or competition get the best out of us,” Scott, whose total for the Games stands at two gold and four bronze medals, said.

“I can say that for myself and Deano, we love a race whether that’s Olympics, world champs, or Commonwealth Games.”

It was Dean who came out on top in the relay, taking Sandwell to the loudest volume it has reached all Games as he managed to hold off Australia’s Kyle Chalmers for gold.

Dean finished first after his England team-mates Brodie Williams, James Wilby and James Guy – who won six medals in Birmingham- led throughout the race.

“It’s been a tough week, six silvers, but to finally get the big gold at the end means the world,” Dean said.

“It’s an honour to do this in front of this crowd.”

Following the men’s relay success, England’s women’s 4x100m medley team of Lauren Cox, Molly Renshaw, Laura Stephens and Anna Hopkin took bronze.

Australia came first and that meant Emma McKeon increased her tally as the most successful Commonwealth Games athlete of all time with 20 medals, including 14 golds.

England’s Cox had lost out on 50m backstroke bronze by 0.03secs as Australia’s Kaylee McKeown finished just ahead of her in third, while Canada’s Kylie Masse took gold and Australian Mollie O’Callaghan silver.

Australia’s Ariarne Titmus took 400m freestyle gold – her fourth in Birmingham – in a Games-record three minutes 58.06 seconds as Canada’s Summer McIntosh won silver and Titmus’ compatriot Kiah Melverton claimed bronze.

New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt won bronze in the 200m individual medley, while Canadian Nicholas Bennett, 18, took the 200m freestyle S14.