GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) Finishing one of the showcase events for gender equity at the Commonwealth Games, Jake Birtwhistle grabbed a boxing kangaroo flag and carried it across the line to clinch the triathlon mixed team relay for Australia.
The team of Gillian Backhouse, Matt Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle and Birtwhistle won the mixed team event at the Broadwater in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds on Saturday afternoon, with England settling for silver and New Zealand capturing bronze.
England won the inaugural event at the Glasgow Games four years ago but it was the hosts who were too strong this time, with Gentle turning a 15-second deficit into a 39-second lead during the third leg.
”I cant believe Ive got a Commonwealth Games gold medal and to feel as though I gave so much to the team as well, its really satisfying,” said Gentle, who missed out on a podium finish in the individual event. ”Im just so glad I was able to perform for the team.”
It means the Brownlee brothers leave the Gold Coast without a gold medal, with world champion Alistair and Jonathan combining with Jess Learmonth and Vicky Holland to get the silver. The brothers missed out on the medals in the individual event.
”I thought even if I got it together it would be close. We talked through every combination last night, and we knew it would be with Australia but we didnt pick this,” Alistair Brownlee said. ”Jess had a fantastic race and that was amazing. I was a little disappointed but it was still a good race.”
The mixed relay is on the program for the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.
England won both para triathlon events, with Jade Jones winning the womens race and Joseph Townsend winning the mens gold.
In other events on Day 3 at the games:
WEIGHTY ISSUES – Indias Sathish Kumar Sivalingham won the 77-kilogram category in the weightlifting by 5 kilograms over Englands Jack Oliver. Yet it was Cameroon-born Francois Etoundi doing backflips after collecting a bronze medal for Australia.
Etoundi injured his left biceps on his second attempt in the clean and jerk but didnt want to let his coaches know how badly he was hurting.
He went back out and secured the bronze, then accepted his medal with his arm in a sling. His most memorable display for the crowd, though, was undoubtedly a somersault.
”This is my home crowd. I didnt want to disappoint them,” he said. ”I know that if I didnt have this injury, this would have been a gold medal for sure.”
WIN OR DRAW? – For Pakistan, this 2-2 draw had the feeling of a win after coming back from an 0-2 deficit and leveling with a penalty corner after the fulltime siren against India.
Theres always underlying emotion in Indo-Pak encounters, and there was no lack of tension in this.
Pakistan was awarded a late penalty corner and Ali Mubashar converted for the equalizer. It was prayers answered for his teammates and staff, and delighted Roelant Oltmans, who has returned to coach Pakistan after a stint with the India team.
The Kookaburras, the gold-medal favorites from Australia, opened with a 4-0 win over South Africa.
GYMNASTICS GOLD – Nile Wilson has beaten fellow Englishman James Hall in the individual all-around final to claim his second gymnastics gold medal of the games.
The England pair and Marios Georgiou of Cyprus went into the final rotation separated by just 0.025 points, and all three finished cleanly on the high bar.
Wilson, an Olympic bronze medalist on the horizontal bar, did just enough to win with a combined 84.950.
”That was one of the most incredible experiences Ive ever had,” said Wilson, who helped the England team defend the mens team title earlier in the program.
SQUASHED – Tesni Evans of Wales has beaten top seed Laura Massaro to move into the Commonwealth Games womens squash semifinals against another English player, Sarah-Jane Perry.
The 11-8, 11-8, 5-11, 15-13 win at the Oxenford Studios court continued a recent run of wins for Evans against Massaro, including the world championships in December and the British National Championships two months ago. Massaro, the 2014 silver medalist at Glasgow in 2014, had won their previous five meetings.
OUT OF CYCLE – World champion Matt Glaetzer, the fastest qualifier and favorite to win the mens sprint, was upset and outsmarted in the second round by Muhammad Sahrom of Malaysia.
”I tried to get through with minimum effort. The speed just wasnt there,” the Australian rider said. ”Its devastating. It was a nightmare unfolding with three-quarters of a lap to go. I knew Id stuffed it and had to give it all I had to try and fight (but) the race was gone by then.”
Glaetzer qualified fastest in a games record time but said an ”elementary error” cost him badly in the ride-off against Sahrom, who had been the slowest of the 16 qualifiers.
Sahrom progressed and said hed treasure the memories of the upset result.
”Matthew Glaetzer is the current world champion. Hes absolutely fast,” Sahrom said. ”Im very honored with what I did today.”