Meares keeps gold rush on track

Australia picked up another five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games overnight in cycling, swimming and gymnastics.

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Australia’s cycling team got off to a flying start, sweeping all three track gold medals on offer while swimmer Leiston Picket claimed gold in the 50m breaststroke and the female gymnasts also scored gold.

In the velodrome at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, Anna Meares kick-started the Games in style, while rising stars Scott Sunderland and Jack Bobridge continued the gold-fest with triumphs in the men’s 1000 metre time trial and 4000 metre individual pursuit respectively.

Three-time world champion Meares took gold in the women’s 500m time trial with a time of 33.758 seconds at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Sports Complex. Australian Kaarle McCulloch won the silver in 34.780sec, with Wales’ Becky James the bronze in 35.236.

Meares has her sights set on three gold medals in Delhi and looks on track to secure her second victory today when she partners Kaarle McCulloch in the team sprint.

West Australian 22-year-old Sunderland set a new Games record in the men’s 1000m time trial, clocking one minute 1.411 seconds. Mohd Rizal Tisin of Malaysia won the silver in 1:02.768, with New Zealand’s Eddie Dawkins taking the bronze in 1:02.777.

Jack Bobridge (4:17.495) had a gutsy win in the men’s individual pursuit, beating New Zealander Jesse Sergent (4:17.893)

The gold sweep raises hopes that the Australian team’s 11 golds of Melbourne may well be attainable and even beatable.

Leisel Jones upset

In the pool, rising star Leiston Pickett claimed gold in the 50m breaststroke final. The 18-year-old (30.84) upset reigning champion Leisel Jones (31.10), who won silver, while England’s Kate Haywood (31.17) was third.

Meanwhile Australians Kenrick Monk and Thomas Fraser-Holmes claimed silver and bronze medals respectively in the men’s 200m freestyle final. Scotland’s Robert Renwick (1:47.88) claimed gold ahead of Monk (1:47.90) and Fraser-Holmes (1:48.22).

Earlier English swimmers took the gold ahead of two Australians in two events. Fran Halsall won from Australia’s Marieke Guehrer and Emily Seebohm in the women’s 50m butterfly.

And her English teammate Liam Tancook won from Hayden Stoeckel and Ashley Delaney in the men’s 50m backstroke.

Not such good news for Australian distance swimmer Rob Hurley who has withdrawn from the Games and is heading home due to a mystery illness. The national 400, 800 and 1500m champion, has been battling an undiagnosed fatigue-related illness in recent months and also had a bout of “Delhi belly” since arriving in India.

Hurley failed to qualify for the final of the 400m freestyle on Monday, an event where he was considered a strong medal chance.

Gymnastics gold

The women’s artistic gymnastic team also won gold. Lauren Mitchell, Georgia Bonora, Emily Little, Georgia Wheeler and Ashleigh Brennan teamed to score 163.7 points at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, well clear of the competition.

Brennan, 19, is the sole survivor from the Australian team which won the same event in Melbourne four years ago.

It is the fourth consecutive women’s team gold medal Australia has won at Commonwealth Games level.


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