Sprint cyclist Natasha Hansen grabbed her second silver medal in as many days when she finished second in the women’s sprint today.
When added to the bronze medals won today in the individual pursuit by Dylan Kennett and in the keirin by Eddie Dawkins, that means New Zealand’s track cycling team has won six medals in the first two days of the Commonwealth Games.
Yesterday Hansen combined with Emma Cumming to win the silver medal in the sprint teams event. Today her focus was on the women’s sprint.
She squeaked through her semi-final against Canadian Lauriane Genest in dramatic fashion.
In the best of three series, Hansen won the first race comfortably and was shaded in the second. It all came down to the third and final race.
The Canadian led out and proved a determined customer. Hansen tried to come over the top, but Genest would not give any ground. They belted their way around the final bend and into the straight and gradually Hansen drew level. As they flashed across the line it was impossible to call it, but it transpired Hansen had won by 0.001s – one one-thousandth of a second. By such small margins is history made.
The victory put Hansen into the final against Australian Stephanie Morton, who won her semi-final decisively.
A rather fatigued looking Hansen tried gamely to hold on to the powerful Morton in the final, but she was no match for the Australian and lost successive races.
Later a smiling Hansen mentioned that she’d battled back problems for some time and only in the past couple of months had she been able to get in some really top-quality training.
She also noted that the emergence of Liv Podmore and Cumming had added a measure of competitiveness to women’s sprinting and had helped her raise her game.
For Kennett, it has been a never-to-be forgotten day.
The man who in the afternoon broke the Commonwealth Games 4000m individual pursuit record, only to lose it 10 minutes later, finished the day a bronze medallist.
Kennett won the ride-off for the bronze medal in devastating fashion. He finished in 4min 18.373s, flashing across the line more than four seconds ahead of disconsolate Australian Jordan Kerby.
For Kennett, the medal was especially significant. “It means an awful lot,” he said. “I had the chance to train with New Zealand's best and I've come out with this medal.
“It was real special. I watched Marc Ryan win medals four years ago at Glasgow and to beat Jordan Kerby here was good.
“We all were doing world-class times and you'd think a 4min 13s [his qualifying time] would be the gold, right? After looking at those times, I thought no way I'd be pushing for a medal. I wanted to try and repeat Glasgow [where he won bronze in the men's 4000m team pursuit].
“I was sitting in third, and by the 2km mark I had gained a huge amount on Jordan. I felt a bit bad and thought, ‘I don't have to catch him. I’ll just take it easy. I know I'm getting third.’”
Dawkins had a chequered road to his keirin bronze medal. Whereas Sam Webster, his team-mate yesterday in the medal-winning team sprint, progressed comfortably through the first round, Dawkins faltered. He finished only third, and had to go into the repechage. He won that race to get into the second round. There Webster was a most impressive winner, and Dawkins snuck into the final by finishing third.
In the final, however, Dawkins rode in an assured manner and though outpaced by Australian Matt Glaetzer and Welshman Lewis Oliva, he was a clear third. Webster trailed in fifth.Gold Coast 2018 Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Natasha Hansen Elizabeth Cummings Eddie Dawkins Sam Webster Dylan Kennett Cycling - Track