GLASGOW, July 26: Australia’s swim stars sent their country top of the Commonwealth Games medals table on Saturday while Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt sprinkled a little stardust on Glasgow. The women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team took Australia’s gold haul to 11 from a possible 21 after three days at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre as they smashed the previous Games record by nearly four seconds.
There was an Australian one-two in the women’s 200m breaststroke as Taylor McKeown sealed gold ahead of teammate Sally Hunter before Emily Seebohm set a new Games record in retaining her 100m backstroke title. Daniel Fox got another Australian gold in the men’s para-sport 200m freestyle to add to his new world record time from qualifying.
South Africa’s Chad le Clos solidified his status as the world’s best 200m butterfly swimmer as he retained his title but he almost came a cropper before he even got into the pool after twisting his ankle when slipping off a bus as he arrived back at the athletes’ village on Friday.
However, once he was in the water he sped clear of the field in the final 50 metres. “Last night I slipped off the bus, so I was a bit worried, my ankle was a bit swollen,” said Le Clos. “This morning it was quite bad in the heats so I was a bit worried, but we had 10 hours to strap it up and needle it a little bit so thanks to the physios.”
The most impressive individual performance in the pool was by England’s Fran Halsall as she broke two Games records in winning the women’s 50m freestyle and qualifying fastest for Sunday’s 50m butterfly final. There was more joy for England as 19-year-old Adam Peaty beat Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa into second in the men’s 100m breaststroke.
In track cycling, Australia took their medals tally to 15 with Annette Edmondson winning the women’s scratch race and Scott Sunderland landing the men’s 1km time trial. The 22-year-old Edmondson, who was silver medallist in the individual pursuit, matched brother Alex’s tally of team gold and individual pursuit silver.
Australian duo Jason Niblett and Kieran Modra missed out in the men’s Para Sprint B tandem as Scotland’s Neil Fachie and Craig Maclean claimed a second gold of the Games with a 2-1 victory. New Zealand shone in the men’s 40km points race with Thomas Scully claiming gold and Aaron Gate winning bronze. Peter Kennaugh claimed Isle of Man’s first medal of the Games, finishing second.
– Bolt to race in heats –
The action on the third day of the Games was dominated in the afternoon by the arrival of Bolt who will race in the 4x100m relay heats in what will be his first outing of an injury-hit season. “Yes I’m here to run. I’ll be running, definitely,” said Bolt, the world record holder and Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m.
Canada’s Patricia Bezzoubenko completed a five-gold haul in rhythmic gymnastics. Bezzoubenko had already won two golds in the team and all-around events and she added three more on Saturday in the clubs, ball and hoop individual disciplines.
The one gold that escaped her grasp was in the ribbon which went to Francesca Jones giving Wales their first gold medal of the Games. Australian shooter Daniel Repacholi won the men’s 10m air pistol but the toast of the town in that event was third-placed Mick Gault of England who at 60 won a record-equalling 18th Commonwealth Games medal.
“Job done, finished, don’t care anymore. I got the record and I can just relax now,” said Gault. In weightlifting, England’s Zoe Smith claimed the women’s 58kg while Malaysia’s Mohammed Hafifi Mansor took gold in the men’s 69kg category.
On the final day of judo, Scotland took three of the five golds thanks to Euan Burton in the men’s -100kg, Royal Marine Christopher Sherrington in the +100kg and Sarah Adlington in the women’s +78kg. Burton’s wife Gemma Gibbons, who represents England, was a silver medallist in the women’s -78kg.
Four-time rugby sevens champions New Zealand remained on track for an unprecedented fifth title by winning their three pool games. However, Scotland gave them a wake-up call in a narrow 17-14 encounter. Women’s world number one squash star Nicol David dropped her first game of the tournament but made it safely through to the semi-finals by beating England’s Jenny Duncalf.
Singapore’s women will face Malaysia in the final of the team table tennis on Sunday despite losing a match for the first time since 2002 in their 3-1 win over India.
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