By Simeon Thomas-Wilson
Two-time defending champion Matt Glaetzer has progressed safely through the first round of the keirin at the Commonwealth Games.
Glaezter, 29, has won the last two keirins at the Games and was hardly troubled as he advanced from his first round heat.
Fellow Australians Matt Richardson and Tom Cornish finished in third in their respective races and will have to now go through the repechage.
Scotland’s dual Olympic medallist from Tokyo Jack Carlin was pinpointed as Glaetzer’s biggest rival from outside of Australia.
But England’s Hamish Turnbull announced himself as one to watch as he thrillingly upstaged Carlin in their heat.
12:13AM CODY BREAKS HIS SILENCE
Cody Simpson will be on the pool deck cheering on the man that snubbed his girlfriend because his first senior swimming championship medal is on the line.
In what could be mixed emotions, Simpson has to rely on his team mates, including Kyle Chalmers, to nail their changeovers in the mens 4x100m relay final, and if they do the popstar is almost certain to be handed his first championship medal.
Selectors will bring in three fresh swimmers, including Chalmers and the 17 year old young gun Flynn Southam to swim the final. While Simpson will be on the sidelines he will be awarded whatever medal the Australian men achieve in the final.
Simpson said he hadn’t seen the furore surrounding the mixed relay event on the opening night – where Chalmers had snubbed Simpson’s girlfriend and his ex, Emma McKeon, distancing himself from her despite and didn’t even shake her hand – because he had left the pool early to get ready for Saturday’s competition.
When told that another swimmer, Elijah Winnington believed that Chalmers was showing respect by not congratulating McKeon, Simpson, 25, was cagey.
Clearly not wanting to create any further antagonism with Chalmers, and having been primed by the Swimming Australia officials, Simpson said: “I don’t know, I mean we are all team mates and I am not sure how he or she is kind of dealing with that, but backstage, warmup and out on deck we have been team mates and supporting each other regardless of whatever may have been.”
Simpson said he has spoken to Chalmers but only about “the usual team mates stuff and supporting each other, we want to make a really good environment, we are here for one purpose”.
When asked what the atmosphere was like, Simpson replied:” It’s fine, like any other team I suppose, it’s my first one”.
11:50PM HOCKEYROOS DOMINATING
By Eliza Barr
The Hockeyroos are off to a strong start, up 4-0 against Kenya at the end of the first quarter in the women’s hockey Group B match.
The skies are threatening to open up over the University of Birmingham, where a packed venue has turned out to watch the clash despite hints of rain.
Australian captain Kaitlin Nobbs clinched the opening point and then the third goal off a penalty, with Stephanie Kershaw swiftly following up with a fourth after a hot contest around the goal.
Shanea Tonkin took the second point, showing the Kenyans the Hockeyroos are a force to be reckoned with early on.
The grey skies have not dampened the crowd’s spirits or the festive atmosphere at the venue, which was freshly recarpeted in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games.
11:43AM NETBALLERS ON A ROLL
By Erin Smith
Diamonds midcourter Paige Hadley made her first 2022 Games appearance in a 83-30win against Scotland but doubts remain over her fitness.
Hadley, the only Aussie to not take the court against Barbados, was part of the starting seven tonight.
Coach Stacey Marinkovich confirmed after day one of competition Hadley was nursing a leg injury and her load was being managed.
Hadley lasted just shy of eight minutes in the first quarter, which the Diamonds won 17-10, before being called back to the bench.
She swapped into WA for the second quarter, once again lasting just eight minutes.
Despite the limited minutes Hadley provided 11 goal assists in the first half- the highest in the team.
The Thistles showed moments of brilliance in defence but struggled to capitalise on the chances- leaving them trailing at halftime 35-18.
Shooters Gretel Bueta and Kiera Austin proved a deadly force in the circle with Bueta shooting at 96 per cent in the first half.
Marinkovich made a number of changes at the half time break including moving Bueta to GA for the first time this tournament.
Scotland lifted their foot off the gas in the third quarter putting up little resistance for the Diamonds who netted another 23 points to Scotland’s 9.
Super Ntball Sunshine Coast shooting duo Cara Koenen and Steph Wood got a chance to flaunt their magic with Wood called on for the final quarter.
The duo put away another 22 goals to secure Australia a dominant win.
The Diamonds have a day off tomorrow before taking on South Africa on day four of competition.
By Scott Gullan
Super Mum Jess Stenson has made history winning the Commonwealth Games marathon title at her third attempt.
With her two-year-old son Billy waiting for her at the finish line, the 34-year-old showed incredible courage to sprint away over the final stages to claim the biggest victory of her career in 2hr27min31sec.
Stenson is the first woman to win three medals in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games after claiming bronze in Glasgow in 2014 and on the Gold Coast in 2018.
Her inspiring victory is also Australia’s sixth win out of 10 editions of the women’s marathon.
Stenson (formerly Trengove) did it by breaking the hearts of two of Africa’s best with Kenya’s Margaret Muriuki (2:28.00sec) taking silver and defending champion Namibia’s Helalia Johannes third (2:28.39sec)
There were three Aussies in the top five after Eloise Wellings hung tough to finish fourth with her teammate Sinead Diver fifth.
Stenson joked in the lead-up that her son didn’t like her sweating or running fast, well she did both brilliantly to follow in the footsteps of her idol Kerryn McCann, who was the last Aussie to win the event back in 2006 in Melbourne.
She credits motherhood with making her a stronger and more complete runner which was evident to everyone in Birmingham.
10:06AM AUSSIE DENIED CHANCE AT GOLD
Australia’s Kristina Clonan had a win in her first quarter final taken off her after she was relegated by officials.
Clonan crossed the line by the narrowest of margins in her first race of her quarter final against Wales’ Emma Finucane, which would have had her put one foot in a semi final spot.
Australia’s best chance in the women’s sprint survived a thrilling late comeback from her Welsh opponent to triumph by just five thousands of a second in the race.
Clonan’s first place was aided by a thrilling piece of riding in which she descended quickly from the top of the track to get the inside lane against Finucane.
But officials later determined that Clonan had forced Finucane to move up on the track during the race and she was relegated.
It gave Finucane the win and the early advantage in their battle for a semi-final spot.
9:25AM CODY ON COURSE TO TEAM UP WITH KYLE
Pop star Cody Simpson’s chances of winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games have received a gigantic boost after he was selected to swim the heats of the 4×100 metres freestyle on Saturday.
As revealed by News Corp earlier this week, Simpson has trained the house down during the team camp and been rewarded with a place in the relay.
He joined Matt Temple, Flynn Southam and Elijah Winnington in the heats, with Simpsons clocking the second fastest split.
The Australian selectors can bring in up four new swimmers for the final – although everyone will get a medal, including the heat swimmers, if the team finishes top three- which they are expected to.
The selectors will almost certainly bring in Kyle Chalmers, William Yang and Zac Incerti for the final with the fourth name yet to be confirmed.
9:15AM SEVEN SECONDS OF HEARTBREAK FOR AUSSIE MARATHON CHAMP
Long-time pacesetter Liam Adams of Australia was just seven seconds off a marathon medal this morning (local) making a valiant effort.
Adams was in control for the first half of the race before Victor Kiplangat of Uganda, Michael Githae of Kenya and Alphonce Felix Simbu of Tanzania made their moves.
After crossing the line in fourth Adams realised that just seven seconds had separated him from securing Australia’s third successive win in the event.
Australia is proud of you Liam!
9:00PM CYCLING; AUSSIE GOING FOR GOLD
By Simeon Thomas-Wilson
Maeve Plouffe will ride for a gold medal in the individual pursuit but the Australian will face a tough task in New Zealander Bryony Botha.
The New Zealander set a new Commonwealth Games record en route to posting the fastest time in qualifying for the 3000m event.
Plouffe was faster than her rival at the 1500m and 2000m mark in her ride, but faded slightly towards the end and had to settle for the second fastest time of 3:21.995.
This was enough to secure her a spot in the gold medal race though.
Fellow Australian Sarah Roy wil take on Scotland’s Neah Evans in the bronze medal race after posting a new PB in her ride with a time of 3:25.262.
By Joe Barton
Samu Kerevi’s Commonwealth Games campaign is in doubt after the Wallaby superstar went off with a knee injury in Australia’s tense win over Kenya on Saturday.
The 7-6 victory puts Australia atop Pool D, avoiding powerhouse New Zealand in the quarter-finals – where they will instead face rising stars Samoa.
But the bigger concern is the fitness of powerhouse back Kerevi, who needed on-field treatment on his right knee before sitting out the remainder of the second-half as Australia grimly held on for a two-point win.
Kerevi opted to keep a promise to his teammates in order to play at the Commonwealth Games, forgoing a spot in the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship opener against Argentina next Sunday.
Australia’s quarter-final spot was all-but confirmed before kick-off against Kenya, with Uganda’s 40-0 win over Jamaica failing to make up the huge points differential advantage to John Manenti’s team.
8:10PM AUSSIES DOMINANT IN HEATS
Plenty of action in the pool this evening. Mack Horton finishing second in his 200m free heats Elijah Winnington and Sam Short also comfortably through.
In the women’s an Aussie trifecta with Shayna Jack (24.31), Emma McKeon (24.52) and Meg Harris (24.57) all comfortably through to the 50m freestyle semi-finals as the three-fastest qualifiers.
By Scott Gullan
Madi di Rozario hopes her stunning success at the Commonwealth Games will inspire a new generation of wheelchair racers after a field of only four competed in Birmingham.
While the Australian superstar was unchallenged by her rivals in defending her Commonwealth crown, the toughness of the course certainly tested the reigning Olympic marathon champion.
“The actual course was one of the hardest marathons I have done in my life with the most brutal part of it being the last 5km which is the cruellest way to have to end the marathon,” she said after setting a Commonwealth Games record of 1hr56min.
“It was definitely a tough race and I’m feeling it. It’s definitely a little motivator when you know what it is like to have been on the top of that podium. You want it a bit more.”
Di Rozario, who defeated 21-year-old Englishwoman Eden Rainbow-Cooper by almost four minutes, said the quality of the field was there despite being small in number.
“Regardless of the size of the field, it’s an incredibly elite field,” she said. “Shelley (Oxley-Woods) is a silver medallist in this event. Christie (Dawes) is a bronze medallist in the 5k and yet it was Eden (Rainbow-Cooper) who was ahead of both of them.
“That talked to the calibre of the younger athletes coming through. Yeah it was a small field but it was a tough race.
“There is so much we can do (as a sport), it is so hard to keep girls in the sport and we need more pathways and events like the Commonwealth Games where they get the coverage they get.
“Getting girls with disabilities into sport is incredibly challenging, the only thing more challenging is keeping us in it.”
Di Rozario, 28, will now turn her attention to the track where she will look to defend her 1500m title from four years at the Gold Coast.
In the men’s race it was gold to England’s Johnboy Smith (1hr41min15sec) with Australia’s Jake Lappin finishing fifth (1:56.21sec)
7:01PM AUSSIE SEVENS IN BIG TROUBLE
By Joe Barton
World Champions Australia are on a nightmare semi-final collision course with fierce rivals New Zealand after suffering another shock loss to Fiji.
Similar to last year’s Tokyo Games quarter-final defeat, Fiji started stronger and have put a major dent in Australia’s gold medal plans.
The 19-12 loss ensures Australia will finish second in Pool B, and will face the top-placed finisher in Pool A – almost certain to be defending champions New Zealand, barring huge upsets in the final group games.
In a brutal, physical encounter, Australia conceded long-range tries to Fijian captain Rusila Nagasau and Sesenieli Donu to go into half-time down 12-0.
“It was a tough game. Fiji is an amazing team and they got the better of us. We didn’t prepare well enough. We need to pick the intensity up for our next game,” Madison Ashby told News Corp.
“That (New Zealand) game will be a grand final match for us – we’ve just got to prepare well, switch on and be ready.”
The spirits were broken when Raijeli Daveua extended the lead to 19-0 shortly after halftime – with Australia able to pull two tries back through Maddison Levi and Demi Hayes, before they ran out of time.
Australia’s semi-final match will be played at 7.42pm local time (4.42am AEST).
AUSSIE GOLDEN HERO ON COLLISION COURSE WITH DRUG CHEAT
Elijah Winnington’s emergence as the world’s best middle-distance swimmer has put him on a collision course with the sport’s most controversial figure.
In two years’ time, Winnington — through no fault of his own — could find himself locked in battle with disgraced Chinese swimmer Sun Yang.
Currently banned from the sport for destroying his doping samples before they could be tested for drugs, Sun is due to make his comeback after 51 months in May 2024 — just in time for the Paris Olympics.
Although he will be 33 at the time, Sun has told his fanatical Chinese supporters he is training hard and will be back to his peak when the Games roll around.
As Sun’s main event is the 400m freestyle — the same as Winnington — that will pit the pair against each other in the first gold swimming race at the Paris Olympics.
If it happens, it will almost certainly become one of the most hyped swimming races in history.
An all-round Mr Nice Guy, Winnington has already become a source of inspiration to Australians for the gracious way he overcame his personal disappointment at his performances at last year’s Tokyo Olympics and turned himself into the premier 400m swimmer on the planet.
But if he’s the last man standing between Sun returning from a lengthy doping back and winning an Olympic gold medal, Winnington will become a global poster boy for clean sport.
And he will inherit the mantle of fellow Australian Mack Horton, who made headlines — and a lot of enemies in China — when he refused to share a podium with Sun at the 2019 world championships.
4:05PM GYMNAST TRAINING WITH 50-YEAR-OLD EQUIPMENT
An unexpected crowd favourite has emerged at the gymnastics in Birmingham.
Pakistan’s 39-year-old Muhammad Afzal has an extraordinary history in the sport.
Afzal made his international debut 19 years ago at the 2003 Al-Fajr event in Iran, and also competed at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
He fell heavily on the floor, the rings and the vault but has elicited raucous applause from the crowd after commentators unveiled his long history in gymnastics.
Pakistani news website The News described gymnastics as Pakistan’s “most deprived sport” in an interview with Afzal on July 18, where he revealed he had been using 50-year-old equipment to train.
“If you are to perform in an international circuit you need to practice with the international standard equipment at home,” Afzal told The News.
3:23PM IMPOSSIBLE TO ELIMINATE DOPING FROM SPORT: WADA BOSS
World Anti-Doping Agency president Witold Banka says it is impossible to eliminate doping from sport.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the 37-year-old former polish sprinter believes WADA’s function as “prosecutor and policeman” should also include a role as an educator.
But he has little time for athletes’ excuses that they were unaware they were taking a banned substance or those who are not available for out-of-competition testing.
“When I was an athlete I was known for being a constant caller to a Polish hotline as to whether the cream I was taking for an injury was OK,” he said.
“If you decide to be an athlete you have to be responsible for your career and that includes what you eat or drink, indeed for everything.
“I do not buy the arguments about their whereabouts — ‘Oh I did not have a network or I do not know how the whereabouts measure works’.
“Well, my reply is they had no problems at the same time of posting photos of where they are on Instagram or Twitter. It is not hard to send an email.”