IMAGE | Michael Willson
Australia has won its 100th gold in Commonwealth Games cycling after Stephanie Morton won the final of the women’s sprint ahead of New Zealand’s Natasha Hansen in second and compatriot Kaarle McCulloch in third.
Hansen attempted mind games from behind in both sprints, thrusting and dodging to try to knock Morton off her perch. But Morton was impassible, storming home in the second sprint to win by 1.286 seconds and defend her Commonwealth title.
“It took me by complete surprise when I beat Anna Meares in Glasgow (individual sprint at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games) – and now to be in the Anna Meares Velodrome is very special,” said Morton.
“After Glasgow, I came into the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games with expectations, and reminisced on what it means to win a gold medal – it’s been very special,” she added.
On speaking about winning Australia’s 100th gold in Commonwealth Games cycling, “It is an honour to receive the 100th gold medal for Australia in cycling. This is testament to the great Australian cycling program.”
In the electric Anna Meares arena, sprint World Champion Matthew Glaetzer lifted the roof at the end of the night by defending his keirin title, capturing Australia’s fifth cycling gold of the Games.
The 25-year-old, who took bronze in the team sprint on the opening day, beat Welshman Lewis Oliva and New Zealand’s Edward Dawkins to the finish line.
Speaking after the race, Glaetzer said, “It’s massive because I was reigning Champion – there’s a lot of pressure and you can feel that expectation – It’s about trying to be ice man, be clinical and when it happens it just comes in rush, and the Aussie crowd just goes nuts.”
“Those races aren’t easy but you’re in a position that people envy so I can’t complain, just loving the fact I got to win it again and share it with this home crowd,” he added.
Commonwealth Games debutant Rebecca Wiasak won silver in the women’s individual pursuit, finishing just 1.46 seconds behind the 2016 Olympic team pursuit champion, Katie Archibald from Scotland. Annette Edmondson took the bronze.
Archibald, the 2016 Olympic team pursuit champion, stopped the clock at 3:26.088, with Wiasak falling away on the final two laps to record 3:27.548.
“I went hard. I used all my energy and enthusiasm. I’m happy to finish both races. I’m as thrilled today with a silver as I would be with a gold,” said Wiasak.
The silver medal capped a remarkable journey for the 33-year-old from being a cadet journalist writing about the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games to competing at the event.
Queenslander Jordan Kerby finished fourth in the men’s 4000m Individual Pursuit.