June 8, 2023

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Golden Gate leads Kiwi cycling medal charge at Commonwealths

Golden Gate leads Kiwi cycling medal charge at Commonwealths

Aaron Gate led a New Zealand one-two in the men’s 4,000-metre pursuit at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday — a day the Kiwis dominated with three titles.

New Zealand’s Bryony Botha won the women’s 3,000m individual pursuit and Ellesse Andrews took gold in the women’s sprint, beating Canada’s Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell.

It was the second gold of the Games for Gate — he and silver medallist Tom Sexton had been part of the winning team in the team pursuit on Friday.

“I’ve got fond memories of my first Olympics here (2012) when we won bronze in the team pursuit,” said Gate, who won at London’s Lee Valley VeloPark in a time of 4min 7.760sec.

“So to go a couple of steps better and then back it up with an individual gold makes it all the more exciting.”

Sexton said he had tried to take advantage of Gate’s traditional slow start but had got tired and his compatriot “trucks home like a freight train”.

An emotional Andrews, who was also part of the New Zealand team that won the women’s team sprint on Friday, shared her joy with her grandparents.

“My grandma and my grandad love coming to watch racing,” she said. “This is my first elite result in front of them because they weren’t able to come to Tokyo.

“To be able to go and give them a big cuddle afterwards, I can’t even explain how special that is.”

Botha, who clocked 3:18.456, said winning was a “surreal feeling”.

The only title that eluded the Kiwis on Saturday was the men’s keirin.

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Gold went to the favourite, Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul, who won the island’s first Commonwealth cycling gold medal since 1966.

“To be able to race in London again, go to my second Commonwealth Games and to earn a gold medal is unbelievable. I am happy with my performance.”

The final was missing two potential medallists, Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer and Joe Truman of England, whose hopes were extinguished by a nasty crash in the semi-final.

Glaetzer went flying after a nudge from another rider and the Australian’s sprawled body brought down Truman, who was knocked out but regained consciousness and was taken off in a wheelchair, breathing with the help of an oxygen bag.

Truman suffered a suspected broken collarbone while team sprint gold medallist Glaetzer, who has battled back from thyroid cancer to compete again, was able to walk away battered and bruised.