Renowned for his bravado, world 100-meter freestyle champion James Magnussen didn’t try to conceal his glee at reasserting his supremacy against a great rival in the pool on Sunday.
”I feel loved again,” Magnussen said after leading home an Australia 1-2-3 to win the Commonwealth title, a podium sweep that strengthened the country’s hold on top spot in the Glasgow Games medals’ standings.
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Back in April, Magnussen was mortified to be beaten by Cameron McEvoy to the Australian title at the Commonwealth trials — especially having boasted he would break the world record that day.
”The trials hurt a bit,” Magnussen said. ”It was probably that initial embarrassment of losing.”
But ”The Missile” is firing again, giving McEvoy the early edge to save himself for the final 25 meters and clock 48.11 seconds to beat his rival by 0.23. Tommaso D’Orsogna was third.
Magnussen’s next target is the Pan Pacific Championships in August on Australia’s Gold Coast.
”It takes a weight off the shoulders, having lost at trials,” Magnussen said. ”I just wanted to get the win tonight to reaffirm to myself I have still got it. I am still going good. Now I can focus on getting my quickest race I can against the Americans in the Pan Pacs.”
Away from the Tollcross Swimming Centre in Glasgow, the athletics competitions began. Here are the highlights from the fourth day of the games.
New Zealand’s 30-game unbeaten Commonwealth Games run in rugby sevens is over. The four-time gold medalists’ domination of the sport stretching back to its games debut at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 was ended by South Africa.
”As a country we have a lot of chances to win medals but as a New Zealand rugby player it is disappointing to come second,” New Zealand captain D.J. Forbes said.
A 17-12 loss left the All Blacks with silver medals at Ibrox, the home ground of Scottish football side Rangers.
”Pressure builds and you just have to play to your best ability, but it’s disappointing,” Forbes said. ”For maybe 10 or 11 minutes of that 20-minute final we were just a little bit off pace.”
Australian success came early on Sunday as Michael Shelley upgraded his Commonwealth silver medal from 2010 for gold in the marathon, running 2 hours, 11 minutes, 15 seconds through rainy Glasgow. Shelley passed the leading group of runners with four kilometers to go, leaving Stephen Chemlany of Kenya to finish second and Abraham Kiplimo of Uganda to earn the bronze.
There was a Kenyan one-two in the women’s marathon, with Flomena Daniel winning in 2:26:45 and Caroline Kilel 25 seconds behind.
One of the most memorable moments at Hampden Park on the first day of athletics competition came from a runner far from the podium.
Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku of Kenya won a 5,000 meter-race missing injured Olympic champion Mo Farah in 13 minutes, 12.07 seconds. But Britons like a plucky loser, and it was Rosefelo Siosi, who finished almost four minutes adrift, the crowd cheered loudest for. The 17-year-old Solomon Islands athlete was lapped three times before crossing the line in 16:55.33.
The highlight of Sunday should have been Usain Bolt in the 100 heats, but the Jamaican is only taking part in the relay at the end of the week following injury. Instead, Adam Gemili advanced to the semifinals as the fastest qualifier, with the Englishman clocking 10.15. Kemar Bailey-Cole, Bolt’s Jamaican compatriot, was second fastest overall, only 0.01 behind Gemili.
On the final day of action in the velodrome, double Olympic champion Laura Trott of England defied a kidney infection to win a duel with Elinor Barker of Wales in the women’s points’ race. Gold was secured in a photo finish after winning the last sprint.
”I’ve had such a bad week of it with the kidney infection,” Trott said. ”It really set me back and knocked my morale a bit. I’ve hardly eaten for two days, I’ve been living off porridge and I don’t like porridge.”