Games gold for Jones, Lenton, Bayley - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Games gold for Jones, Lenton, Bayley

By Mike Hedge 18/03/2006 11:11:24 PM Comments (0)

Leisel Jones, Libby Lenton and Ryan Bayley became dual gold medallists as Australia streaked ahead in the Commonwealth Games medal count on Saturday.

The hosts won gold in the pool, at the velodrome, in gymnastics, weightlifting and, perhaps the most welcome of all, in both the women's and men's triathlon.

The haul of 11 gold medals for the day lifted the Australian total to 23, almost three times as many as closest rival England, who have eight.

After six years of trying, Australia's world champion triathletes finally broke through for major Games wins thanks to Emma Snowsill and Brad Kahlefeldt.

Australia has been at the forefront of international competition for more than a decade.

But since the introduction of the sport into Olympic and Commonwealth Games competition, they had collected only minor medals.

That changed when Snowsill powered away in the final run leg to win by a massive 36 seconds.

Kahlefeldt repeated the effort a couple of hours later, winning by more than 10 seconds.

"I've always been a strong runner, but to do that in that strong field in front of family and friends, it was fantastic," Kahlefeldt said.

While the triathletes slogged it out around the bay, gymnasts Josh Jefferis and Philippe Rizzo collected gold and bronze medals in the men's all around competition, maintaining a growing Australian presence in gymnastics.

But it was after dark that the gold medal pace picked up.

Jones added to her earlier 50m breaststroke victory with a victory in the 200m that she won under extreme difficulty.

Jones found herself dangerously short of breath in the final stages of the race and had to be given oxygen after leaving the water.

She still came within 0.18s of her own world record.

"I probably just exerted myself a bit too much," Jones said.

Despite the problem, Jones seems a certainty to complete the breaststroke hat-trick on Monday night in the 100m.

The win made Jones the first dual gold medallist of the Australian team, but her teammate Lenton and Olympic champion cyclist Bayley soon joined her.

Lenton had hoped to win seven titles at these games, but she missed at her first attempt in the 200m freestyle before success in the 100m and as a member of the 4x200m freestyle team.

Adding to the success in the pool was Sophie Edington in the 100m backstroke and Matthew Cowdrey who broke the world record in the EAD 50m freestyle.

At the velodrome Bayley blasted to his second victory of the Games, beating Scotland's Ross Edgar 2-0 in the best-of-three final.

The winner of the keirin gold medal 24 hours earlier, Bayley repeated his performance of 18 months ago in Athens where he won the same two races.

"It is hard to beat Olympic gold medals, it is one of the biggest things in the world," Bayley said.

"But the Commonwealth Games are absolutely massive. This is not far short of Olympic gold."

After a shock in the first race of the best-of-three final in which he needed all his power to fly home from behind to grab Edgar, Bayley blew his opponent away in the second race.

Bayley took the lead with a lap to go, racing away from the Scot and putting the final 200m behind in 10.639secs.

Also at the velodrome, Anna Meares picked up silver in the sprint, her sister Kerrie taking the bronze medal.

Australia's first weightlifting gold of the Games went to Ben Turner who narrowly beat Malaysia's Muhammad Hidayat.

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