Adam Peaty’s reign came to an end as James Wilby won gold in the 100m breatstroke

Adam Peaty’s reign came to an end as James Wilby won gold in the 100m breaststroke the Englishman didn’t even claim a medal as he showed that he is human

For a time, it seemed only the inclusion of a great white might inject some jeopardy into his races. But ultimately the answer to the question of how you stop Adam Peaty came in the more humane form of a damaged foot and the charge of James Wilby.

Goodness, there are upsets and then there is Peaty losing a breaststroke race across a distance of 100m. It hadn’t happened before. Not once in a major final in a 50m pool in eight years. Not many close-run things, either.

And then this, the sort of race that rather bucked the idea that cheap gold can be mined at the Commonwealth Games. He didn’t get one of those – the prize went to Wilby, among the many talented English swimmers living in one of the biggest shadows in all of sport. But here’s the thing – Peaty also didn’t get the silver or bronze.

Adam Peaty reacts after placing fourth in the men’s 100m breaststroke swimming final

He was fourth. Empty tank and empty-handed. And indeed human, having once said he felt ‘like a god’ every time he walked to the pool.

With his record you can get away with that kind of talk – it takes a puffed out chest to support three Olympic gold medals, eight from the worlds and 17 at European level. But gods don’t break a foot doing routine stretches, like Peaty did 10 weeks ago, and on such dumb luck and physiology an incredible streak was brought to an end.

The 27-year-old had led with all but 25m to go, but then he had too little left to give. Too little training to call on, having only shed his protective boot four weeks. His time of 59.86 was almost three seconds shy of his latest of many world records, but more crucially it was behind the 59.25 clocked by Wilby, who had trailed at the turn but produced a scorching second 50m. Zac Stubblety-Cook, the Australian Olympic 200m champion was second and his team-mate Sam Williamson took third.

‘It took a broken foot to get it away from me,’ he said. ‘But I chose to fight. I don’t really care about the stats and how long I’m undefeated.

Swimmer James Wilby has taken gold in the Commonwealth Games 100metre breaststroke

Swimmer James Wilby has taken gold in the Commonwealth Games 100metre breaststroke

‘It was a very slow final for me. I can’t even remember when I went that slow. Of course it’s a shock.

‘I felt really good to 50. I just don’t know what went wrong. With 25 to go I had nothing in the tank. Sometimes you just have a bad race.

‘Going into the next two years it’s how do I peak in Paris. There’s obviously a lot going wrong in my training programme. It is what it is. Sometimes when you don’t race all season it bites you when it matters.’

The kicker for Peaty is that had he matched his semi-final time of 59.02sec he would have won this final. But that’s where the depleted reserves came in – after only five races all year and so little training of late he just didn’t have the gas for the journey. He goes again in the 50m on Monday, having lost that title on this stage four years ago – his last defeat at any distance. What does this mean for that? ‘F*** knows,’ as he put it, and yes, quite.

Peaty, who had not lost in the event since 2015, sportingly hugged Wilby after the event

Peaty, who had not lost in the event since 2015, sportingly hugged Wilby after the event

And so to Wilby, a world silver medallist in his own right and a holder of global gold in relay gigs. The shame is that a Peaty defeat, such is its rarity, will always be seen through that prism, but that does an inevitable injustice to an astonishing Wilby performance, which adds to his 200m silver last week.

How great he could have his day. ‘Adam is a phenomenal athlete,’ he said. ‘This moment, I was able to get a little edge on him, but he’ll probably kick me in the arse later in the calendar. But I’m proud of that.’

Good on him.

Earlier, paralympic gold medallist Alice Tai won the 100m backstroke S8, six months after having her right leg amputated below the knee due to a worsening of her condition, bilateral talipes, also known as club foot. James Guy took bronze in the 200m butterfly, the same race in which South Africa’s Chad Le Clos equalled the Commonwealth Games medal record of 18 by claiming silver.

Fine achievement, and like so much else, entirely overshadowed by what was to come.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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