Commonwealth Games 2014: Scots kick back after a golden start for the Auld Enemy
Judo provides gold medals for home nation after English triathlon triumph
Two Scottish sisters got the host nation off to a golden start at the Commonwealth Games this evening.
Kimberley and Louise Renicks, from North Lanarkshire, delighted their local crowd when both won gold in the judo. Earlier in the day Alistair and Jonny Brownlee from Leeds continued their domination of the triathlon coming first and second in a gruelling encounter in the blistering heat.
What had been hailed as Thunder Thursday – the day when Scots medal success would ignite Glasgow 2014 in a fervour of patriotic sporting success – came triumphantly true in the evening session of the opening day. Kimberley won Scotland’s first gold, beating her Indian opponent in the 44kg final. Louise then sealed the family’s, and the nation’s, delight with success in the 52kg category.
The sisters, who had been devastated at only making the reserves for Team GB in London 2012, had sacrificed the opening ceremony of the previous night to concentrate on their events.
“It is absolutely brilliant. It is what I had been hoping for and what I have wanted for the last two years,” Kimberley said. “The crowd have been behind all of us and it has been a great start to the Commonwealth Games,” she added.
Their victories put Scotland on target to reach its best ever haul of 33 Commonwealth medals, achieved in Edinburgh in 1986. The Scots are in third place in the medal table, behind England and Australia but ahead of India and Canada.
There was also victory in the pool. The noisy crowd erupted when Hannah Miley ground down an early lead by her English rival Aimee Willmott in the women’s 400m individual medley to lead Scotland’s gold medal charge in the pool. Later Ross Murdoch beat fellow Scot Michael Jamieson to add gold and silver in the men’s 200m breaststroke. It brought Scotland’s medal haul for the day to 10, including four golds.
But it was England who took first blood when Jodie Stimpson, who took up triathlon aged nine, won the first gold of the Games while teammate Vicky Holland took bronze.
The Brownlee brothers received a rapturous reception from the crowd during their tense duel with each other in Strathclyde Country Park cheered on by crowds waving Yorkshire flags in honour of their home county.
In the velodrome Sophie Thornhill, who suffers from albinism, and pilot Helen Scott won the first para sport gold for England, beating their Scottish rivals Aileen McGlynn and Louise Haston in the tandem sprint event.
Thornhill, who is tipped for a second medal in the cycling, said: “Every gold is special but to have it here with the world watching… is great.”
But there was only silver for England in the 4,000m team pursuit including Sir Bradley Wiggins when they were comfortably beaten by Australia in the final despite being roared on by the Scottish crowd. Jess Varnish won bronze in the 500m time trial.
Sir Bradley added more disappointment for fans when he said this would be his only appearance at the Games – an announcement which came just hours after his double Olympic gold medal teammate Mo Farah became the latest big star to pull out, citing his failure to recover from illness.
Speaking after the race Sir Bradley, who was controversially left out of Team Sky this year, indicated he would concentrate in the future on the track. This makes it unlikely that he will appear again in the Tour de France, which he won in 2012.
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