Commonwealth Games: Australia Shapes Sixth Title


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Australia one day from their sixth Games success

Swimming put the Aussies top of the medal table this year at the Indian Commonwealth Games. Australia has already collected 169 medals, 72 of which made of gold and 50 of silver. The main fight is for the second place where England are just one golden medal ahead of the hosts. India won 36 golden medals of 96 and despite the English wear 138 medals, another two golden medals may put India ahead. Thursday is the final day that ended to be decisive for the Aussies, who are about to win their sixth successive Games. Indians’ delight tempered these days when race walker Rani Yadav has been tested positive after she used a banned steroid.

The 20-year-old Yadav was provisionally suspended from the Games immediately she came sixth at the 20km walk on Saturday. Commonwealth Games statement read: “Ms Yadav has asked for the B sample to be tested. That result is expected within 48 hours from the time of the request.” Thus, she became the third athlete at this year’s Games to be tested positive after Nigerians Samuel Okon and Osayemi Oludamola, who was stripped of the 100m gold medal. Lalit Bhanot, secretary general of the local organizing, seemed disappointed about these unfortunate cases. “We tried our level best. Not only the federations but also the National Anti-Doping Agency tried with our out-of-competition tests. The government is very serious about these things. One can’t be controlled if the person is trying to take some forbidden substance to enhance their performance.” NADA director general Rahul Bhatnagar said he didn’t wait too long to ask for investigation in Yadav’s case. She is supposed to have undergone pre-competition dope tests, but came up clean then. “I immediately called up my office when I saw her name in the media. They told me her name featured in the list of tests done before the Commonwealth Games,” he added.

More than 1,300 tests had been provided during the Games, according to Fennell. Oludamola was confirmed positive after using a banned stimulant, while Okon was caught using mthylhexaneamine. Added Bhatnagar: “We had taken 727 samples from the India Commonwealth Games probable team and some were even removed from the final team after testing positive. We wanted to send out the message that we won’t tolerate doping. If one has been caught, it will be a lesson to all the athletes.” With just one day to go, the Indians showed their pride concerning the successful Games, despite the event underwent plenty of issues regarding security, infrastructure and food. However, it was a very present crowd who didn’t cause too many problems, but in the swimming. Spectators whistled during a quiet start at the 50m probe.

There were only the Indian athletes that felt welcomed in Delhi though. Superheavyweight champion Paramjeet Samota would confirm this. “Every time I had a good punch, the crowd roared, giving me more encouragement. Most of the credit must go to the crowd.” In fact, problems occur during indoor cycling. The building wasn’t gifted with air conditioning, thing which put the riders into big breathe troubles. “It was so hard, you just looked up the road and it was a haze, my feet were so numb I felt I was just pedalling with my ankles,” Australia’s Luke Durbridge, who won the bronze in the men’s 40km run, said. In the women’s probe, Canada’s Tara Whitten won the 29km event. Scot David Millar would win gold for the first time. Furthermore, England’s Emma Pooley failed in wearing gold after illness. But her 45-year-old team-mate Julia Shaw won the bronze. “I didn’t even know how well I was doing or where I finished. I probably prefer a more technical course. I’m really pleased for Julia. It’s a well deserved medal. Being in Delhi has been very similar to Beijing – it’s been a big Games experience, and people have had the opportunity to get used to all the paraphernalia that goes with a big Games. So I think it’s been a very good experience for all the young riders,” said Pooley.

Shaw struggled for a medal as well as she took bronze after being clocked 39 minutes and 9.52 seconds, unlike Whitten who took the gold in 38 minutes and 59.2 seconds. “I did think about giving up last year, but my coach told me to keep going as I might have a chance here. When we discovered the course out here was very flat we thought it might be a good time for me to try and get into the squad. I had no idea what to expect out here. As the race was happening I didn’t really know how I was doing. I just tried to keep going,” said Shawn.

However, one of England’s latest golden medals came from its shooters. Both Richard Brickell and Parag Patel wore gold after the first one claimed the singles skeet, while Patel succeeded in the singles full bore open event. “I am absolutely delighted, over the moon. It was a real tough one as everybody here is superb and you saw how close the game was. I was a bit unlucky with that first miss. I was certainly hoping for the gold until something massive went wrong,” said Brickell who seemed a bit nervous when he missed one in the shoot out, but hoped his opponent will miss, too another shoot. He added: “I was very nervous in front of a huge crowd, the media and the cameras. But I kept my cool and finally did it. I knew I had the ability to get gold but it is always difficult when you are competing against the best. So I just stuck to the basics and left the rest to God.”

In squash, Nick Matthew claimed his second gold in Delhi, the last one taken alongside Adrian Grant in the men’s doubles. The English pair won the first set 11-9, but was immediately smashed 11-6 by Aussies Stewart Boswell and David Palmer. Palmer would injure on his elbow and after undergoing medical treatment, came back, but for no use as the English won 11-5 in the third set. Said Matthew: “It’s just an amazing feeling (of winning two golds). There’s a gold medal at stake and people put their bodies on the line. It’s just completely different from singles, we did it for one another. This is our highlight, this is the pinnacle of squash with us not being an Olympic sport. I love golf but I don’t think they need to be at the Olympics. We desperately need it and we want it really badly.”

On the other hand, boxing found the Irish and Indians wearing golds. It was for the first time that Northern Ireland won three golden medals at the Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile, India’s trio Suranjoy Mayengbam and Paramjeet Samota imitated the same performance. As for the Irish, Paddy Barnes brought the first gold in front of Namibia’s Jafet Uuton, the defending champion. “I always had it under control. I knew I could do it. He was bigger than me and he ran away a lot. I knew I just had to keep a tight guard. I rank it above the Olympic bronze medal. I’m number one in the Commonwealth and next year I’ll be number one in the world,” said Barnes. The golden Irish adventure continued with Paddy Gallagher, who beat England’s Callum Smith 11-6. He found it hard to speak about the sensational performance. He would take a 5-2 lead after the first round. “I’m just so happy for everyone involved. He was a great opponent and the opponents have got harder as the rounds have gone on – but I was able to pull through,” said Gallagher.

Finally, captain Eamon O’Kane broke England’s dream in boxing. He defeated Anthony Ogogo in the middleweight division to bring the third golden medal for Northern Ireland. “I don’t want to take anything away from my opponent but I think I had the hardest route to the final and I was just tired by the time I got there,” said Ogogo, who blasted to a 16-4 victory, to mention in the same time that he found it hard to handle the tough confrontation. “The support I have got has been fantastic but I just didn’t have anything left in the final. Fair play to Eamon but I think he would admit as well that he had the easier route. The score is pathetic, it’s not a true justification but we’ve been getting nothing all week and we’ve got nothing on finals day.”

Meanwhile, local police added 4000 men around the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for Thursday’s closing ceremony. Schools and other public institutions will be closed during the closing ceremony because of the security measures that must be taken, the more Britain’s Prince Edward, Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi will be present at the ceremony. The medal table is led by Australia, followed by England, India on third, Canada on fourth with only 75 medals, 26 of which made of gold and South Africa, who lies on fifth place with 33 medals, just 12 of them made of gold.11

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