Sam Webster tonight stamped himself as one of the greats of New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games history.
Webster, 26, already a gold medallist in these Games, won the men’s sprint in champion style.
That victory means he has achieved the team and individual sprint gold double in the Gold Coast Games this year and at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Webster has now won seven Commonwealth Games medals, going back to Delhi in 2010. That means he is only one behind Gary Anderson as New Zealand’s most medalled cyclist at a Commonwealth Games. In addition, he has an Olympic silver medal and three world titles in his cycling CV.
Through the tough sprint competition tonight Webster never put a foot wrong.
He was too good for Malaysian Muhammad Sahrom in the semi-final, winning two straight races, and he repeated that treatment in the final to beat Scot Jack Curlin.
Reflecting later, Webster said he had executed his races as perfectly as he had ever done.
“Everything has come together just how I hoped,” he said. “We tried a few things at the world champs and they didn’t work, so we went back to basics and trusted ourselves. The results have been obvious during these Games.”
Webster said he received a real lift from all the New Zealanders in the crowd, who certainly had plenty to cheer about tonight, because besides Webster, Emma Cumming and Campbell Stewart also got among the medals.
The 20-year-old Cumming picked up her second bronze of the Games, this time in the women’s 500m time trial. The event was won by Australian Kaarle McCulloch in 33.383s.
Cumming was timed at 34.230s. Ironically Cumming’s brilliant ride deprived countrywoman Natasha Hansen of a third Games medal. Hansen was fourth with a time of 34.238s. The other New Zealander in the field was Ellesse Andrews, who recorded 35.850s.
Campbell Stewart, just 19, grabbed a silver medal in the men’s 15km scratch race. Stewart’s medal was the result of some excellent team riding by the other New Zealanders in the race, Dylan Kennett and Nick Kergozou.
Stewart latched onto the wheel of Australian Cameron Meyer, which helped considerably. Then he went for it in the closing two laps and ended up with the silver – not bad for a young rider in his first Commonwealth Games.
The other New Zealanders in action in the velodrome tonight were the three women in the 25km points race. Rushlee Buchanan was the best of the New Zealanders, finishing fifth with 10 points. Behind her, Michaela Drummond was 10th and Racquel Sheath 17th.
Gold Coast 2018 Delhi 2010 Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Sam Webster Emma Cumming Campbell Stewart Natasha Hansen Ellesse Andrews Dylan Kennett Nick Kergozou De La Boessiere Rushlee Buchanan Racquel Sheath Michaela Drummond Cycling - Track