By Neil Leverett and Nicola Kenton
- Duncan Scott wins Commonwealth crown in men’s 100m freestyle, as Siobhan-Marie O’Connor defends medley title
- Northern Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan beats World and Olympic champion Max Whitlock on pommel
- XXI Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia run until April 15
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – Scotland’s Duncan Scott beats Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers in pool, whilst Northern Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan upsets Max Whitlock on the pommel as home nations enjoy best day yet down under
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Scott takes stunning freestyle gold
Scotland’s Duncan Scott produced a stunning final 50 metres, to take surprise gold in the men’s 100m freestyle on day four of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.
The 20-year-old from Glasgow overhauled a stacked field in the closing stages of the final, including home favourite Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia and South Africa’s Chad Le Clos to storm through the final from fourth at the turn, winning in a time 48.02, as both South African and Australian shared the silver medal coming home .13 of a second behind the Scottish swimmer.
Having already notched two bronzes in both the relay and the 200m free from Friday, Scott produced a sublime swim from the back of the field to snatch a hugely unexpected win in the final desperate metres of the race in what could be the first of many titles for Scott having just left his raw teenage years.
O’Connor defends medley crown
Meanwhile, later in the evening at the Optus Aquatics Centre, England’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor successfully defended her Commonwealth 200 individial medley title, beating Canadian duo Sarah Darcel and Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson to gold.
‘The Bath Bullet’ eased to back-to-back golds in the event winning at a canter to retain the title the 22-year-old won on British soil in Glasgow in 2014, clocking a time of 2.09.80.
After taking silver in the Olympic Games in Rio behind rival Katinka Hosszu in 2016, the last two years have been a continuing battle for O’Connor as she manages training and competition with ulcerative colitis. With the European championships in Glasgow later this summer, O’Connor now turns her attention individually to the Hungarian as she attempts to take the gold ahead of the dominant woman in the event.
Elsewhere in the Gold Coast pool, England pipped Scotland to silver in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, as Australia’s Mack Horton brought the host nation home for yet another gold in Australia.
With the Britain as world champions, the elite quartet were split across the English and Scottish quartet, with England’s James Guy overhauling the auld enemy – and 100m golden boy Scott – on the final leg to take second for England as the Scots took the bronze.
McClenaghan beats Whitlock, Fenton and Tulloch win gymnastics gold
In the men’s pommel horse event, Olympic champion Max Whitlock was beaten to Commonwealth gold by Northern Ireland’s Rhys McClenaghan after an impeccable performance which wowed the judges.
Hemel Hempstead’s Whitlock was again expected to win but was beaten to the title by McClenaghan after the pair received the same score from the judges but it was the 18-year-old who triumphed with a higher mark for execution, while Whitlock claimed the silver ahead of Canadian Zachary Clay.
This was the first medal of the 2018 Games for Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, there were no medals in the women’s vault with Holly Jones of Wales the best placed of the home nations athletes in fourth.
The final events of the day saw the men compete on the rings, while the women tackled the uneven bars. England’s Courtney Tulloch was first up on the rings and posted the score to beat, a 14.833. Team-mate Nile Wilson also did a good routine to secure second position with four athletes left.
However, nobody was able to overhaul the English pair, as they claimed gold and silver. On the uneven bars, it was England’s Georgia-Mae Fenton who came out on top with a score of 14.600 to win the gold medal. Team-mate Kelly Simm placed sixth with Maisie Methuen and Latalia Bevan of Wales in seventh and eighth.
Stewart wins grueling points race for Scots
In the Gold Coast Velodrome, Scotland’s Mark Stewart won gold in a energy-sapping points race to close the action on the final day of track cycling on the Gold Coast.
Stewart went out to an early lead after taking 20 points for gaining a lap on the field, as he held off both Campbell Stewart of New Zealand and an inspired showing from Englishman Ethan Hayter. The stong pre-race favourite Cameron Meyer finished outside the medals.
Having taken bronze in the worlds’ in Apeldoorn earlier this year, Stewart produced a race of remarkable endurance to finish with 81 points, 12 clear of the Kiwi.
As Meyer sought to produce a late run to gain the pivotal 20 points for lapping the pack, it was curiously teenager Hayter who refused to let the Australian ride away, as Meyer ran out of steam over the course of the 100 laps of the track.
With only a win on the final sprint that could deny the Scot victory over his namesake, the Scot played defensive to keep his opponent within range as Hayter crossed the finish line first ahead of Kiwi Campbell, closely followed by the Scot in third, to clinch the Commonwealth title.
As Stewart made his way to celebrate with his team-mates, the efforts the Scot had put in were clear for all to see as he collapsed to the ground in sheer exhaustion. The effort would soon be worth it however, as Stewart shortly after stood at the summit of the podium as Flower of Scotland rang out.
Miller takes Commonwealth hammer title
Finally, and as the first day of athletics competition got under way at the Gold Coast Carrara Stadium, England’s Nick Miller made the step up from his silver he won in Glasgow four years ago to take gold in the men’s hammer ahead of Australia’s Matty Denny and Scot Mark Dry.
The 24-year-old from Carlisle threw a new National and Games record, breaking the 80-metre barrier with an effort of 80.26 to finish over five metres over his nearest rivals, to take his first major title in the event.
The athlete who lives and trains in Oklahoma in the United States is a former two-time NCAA runner-up and having now won his first major title, will be eyeing further silverware this season.
The XXI Commonwealth Games continue on Monday and run until Sunday 15 April, on the Gold Coast, Australia.
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