Katarina Johnson-Thompson claimed her first heptathlon title for three years as she successfully defended her Commonwealth Games crown.
The 29-year-old triumphed with 6,377 points, ahead of Northern Ireland’s Kate O’Connor, who took silver, and England team-mate Jade O’Dowda in third.
It is Johnson-Thompson’s first victory since winning the world title in 2019, having recovered from at least one career-threatening injury.
A ruptured Achilles threatened her Olympic dream last year and, even though she made it to Tokyo, she suffered a serious calf injury in the 200m and had to withdraw.
Her injury nightmare meant she was unable to defend her world title in Oregon last month, finishing eighth, as Nafi Thiam reclaimed the crown after losing to Johnson-Thompson in Doha in 2019. But at the Alexander Stadium, she ended her wait for a win.
Johnson-Thompson held an overnight lead and clung on to a 122-point advantage after the long jump on Wednesday morning.
She then consolidated her lead with a stunning personal best of 44.33m in the javelin, one of her weaker events, leaving her on the verge of gold.
It gave her a 136-point advantage over Northern Ireland’s O’Connor heading into the final 800m and she ran two minutes 13.93 to finish second in the race and comfortably claim overall victory.
Elsewhere in the athletics on Wednesday night, Scotland’s Eilish McColgan followed in her mother’s footsteps when she won gold in the women’s 10,000m, battling past Kenya’s Irene Cheptai for an emotional victory in a Games-record time.
Liz McColgan won the same title in 1986 and 1990, as well as the world title in 1991, and now Eilish has written her own bit of history after a series of big-event near-misses.
She set a strong early pace on Wednesday and was eventually left alone with Cheptai for the final four laps before gritting her teeth to surge clear over the last 150 metres and win in 30 minutes and 48.60 seconds.
In the pool, Tom Dean became England’s most decorated athlete at a single Commonwealth Games, walking away from Birmingham with a “special” gold after six successive silver medals.
Dean was again beaten by Scotland’s Duncan Scott in the men’s 200 metres individual medley on Wednesday night, having also been pipped by his friend and rival over the same distance in the freestyle at the weekend.
But alongside Brodie Williams, James Wilby and James Guy, Dean finally got his hands on Commonwealth gold as England finished eight hundredths of a second ahead of Australia in the men’s 4x100m medley relay final, with Scotland
completing the podium positions at a raucous Sandwell Aquatics Centre.
Dean scooped a famous Olympic gold in the men’s 200m freestyle last year, edging out Scott, who has gained a measure of revenge in recent days with two individual wins over the Londoner.
In the men’s 50m freestyle, Ben Proud followed up his 50m butterfly win with a second gold of the games, with English team-mate Lewis Burras 0.32 seconds behind in second.
Proud also won the event at June’s World Championships and was happy to bounce back after finishing joint-fifth at Tokyo 2020, saying: “So much has changed. This is really my redemption year.”
Bethany Firth claimed Northern Ireland’s first Commonwealth gold in the pool in the women’s 200m freestyle S14, with English duo Jessica-Jane Applegate and Louise Fiddes second and third respectively.
In the weightlifting, England flag-bearer Emily Campbell won gold in the women’s +87kg category, the 28-year-old setting a new personal best and Games record of 124kg in the snatch portion of the event, three kilograms clear of reigning champion Feagaiga Stowers of Samoa.
In front of a packed crowd at the NEC, the duo traded Games records with their opening clean-and-jerks, before Stowers failed on 154kg to confirm the gold medal for Campbell.
With two lifts still to go, Campbell raised the bar again with a successful lift of 157lb, before rounding off her competition by executing 162kg, a new Commonwealth record that eclipsed her total score in the Tokyo Olympics by three kilograms.
Elsewhere, England’s Evie Richards put a “terrible year” behind her to storm to Commonwealth gold in Wednesday’s mountain bike race.
There was no sign of the back injury or multiple illnesses that have plagued the world champion over the last six months as she rode clear on the first of the seven laps around Cannock Chase forest to improve on the silver she claimed four years ago.
There was one scare with two laps to go when she slid on a corner and had to remount but that was the only moment in the 95-minute race where a Richards win looked in doubt and she was ultimately a comfortable winner from Australia’s Zoe Cuthbert and South Africa’s Candice Lill, with Scotland’s Isla Short fourth.
“I’ve had a terrible year,” the 25-year-old said. “From being world champion last year this year has gone to shambles. I had a bad back in February and this is the first race with no pain, no tears. Just to finish a race, it sounds silly, but it’s such a special moment.”
In the judo, Arsenal fan Jamal Petgrave delivered gold before saying he would love to parade the medal at the Emirates Stadium.
Petgrave went into overtime to produce a ‘Golden Score’ victory over Mauritius judoka Remi Feuillet before his thoughts quickly turned to the forthcoming Premier League campaign.
“I’m looking forward to the new season and the documentary ‘All or Nothing’,” Petgrave said after his thrilling Coventry Arena victory in the men’s -90kg division.
“I hope to go to more games and I’d love to show the medal at the stadium.”
England also won gold in the women’s -78kg as Emma Reid beat her “idol” Natalie Powell 1-0 to deprive the Welsh judoka of a second Commonwealth title.
Eearlier, Scotland‘s Rosemary Lenton became a Commonwealth gold medallist at the age of 72 with victory in the women’s pairs B6-B8 final alongside Pauline Wilson.
Lenton, who was formerly a competitive sailor and cyclist, was making her Games debut in the para bowls, two decades after complications from a routine surgery led to her needing a wheelchair.
What began as a close final against Australia’s Cheryl Lindfield and Serena Bonnell, level at 5-5 in the early going, became a blowout as Lenton and Wilson triumphed 17-5.