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Commonwealth Games 2022 swimming live schedule, medal tally day 1, Cody Simpson, cycling gold


Zac Stubblety-Cook in action in Birmingham. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Zac Stubblety-Cook in action in Birmingham. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Ariarne Titmus had to dig deep to win her first 200m freestyle title at the Commonwealth Games after being put under intense pressure from rising teenage star Mollie O’Callaghan.

Titmus posted the eighth fastest time in history to win the race – stopping the clock at 1:53.89 – but only just held on to beat her fast -finishing team mate, who touched in 1:54.01.

Madi Wilson completed an Australian sweep of the medals when she finished third (1:56.17) but the race for gold was between the front two, who are both trained by Dean Boxall.

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There was another triple in the men’s with Elijah Winnington leading an Australian trifecta in the men’s 400m freestyle final winning gold.

The newly-crowned world champion added the Commonwealth Games 400m freestyle title to his growing list of accomplishments with a dominant performance that cements his status as the world’s premier middle distance male swimmer.

Leading from start to finish, the 22-year-old surged clear of his rivals to win in a time of 3:43.06 after being under world record pace for the first 300m, leading an Australian sweep of the medals at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre.

Rising teenage star Sam Short took the silver in 3:45.07 while Mack Horton, who has already won Olympic and Commonwealth golds, collected the bronze in 3:46.49.

5:21AM ANOTHER GOLD

By Erin Smith

Tim Hodge is “exhilarated” after claiming his first Commonwealth Games gold medal and a Games record in the men’s S9 100m backstroke.

Hodge has continued his impressive form from last month’s worlds.

He went in as the man to beat but Hodge didn’t let the pressure get to him .

“ I knew if I focused too much on that fact that, I could possibly ruin my performance. So I was really focused on just getting the best possible performance out of myself, regardless of what the other competitors do,” Hodge said.

“To come away with a Games record especially by a margin like that proves that everything I’ve been doing so far is right.”

Hodge will be back in the pool later this week for the 100m breaststroke.

Harrison Vig finished fourth and Brenden Hall touched in 5th.

WHAT OUR SWIMMERS SAID:

Sam Short

 I just want to do it again it already. Oh no definitely has not sunk in. It was my first international final. I was just stoked to race with the big dogs. You know, i was next to the former Olympic champ. I was in the race with the world champ and Europeans I’ve never raced before in my life. So I was just excited to be around them.

Elijah Winnington

 It’s pretty hard coming off the back of World Championships just a month ago and refocusing to train again and to get myself up to that still about, you know, 1.8 seconds off what I went at Worlds, but today, it was about a race. And that’s what I went out there to do. I wasn’t focused on time or anything like that. So I took them out hard and played to my strategy in a play paid off.

Ariarne Titmus

 I was breathing the other way on the third lap and I really thought that that’s when Mollie might make the move. I saw her on the turn and she was there but you know, a great back end as well, but I you know, I was happy I had just enough to get by. I’m happy with how I raced. I think this meet is all about racing, Commonwealth Fames just has a different vibe to other meets. And I think it’s about who’s toughest here and who knows how to deal with the circumstances so I’m happy just to get the win tonight.
Ariane Titmus wins the gold
Ariane Titmus wins the gold
 4:25am SWIMMING GAMES RECORD

Jacquelin Magnay

Sandwell Aquatics Centre

Canada’s schoolgirl sensation and reigning world champion Summer McIntosh, three weeks shy of her 16th birthday, blitzed the women’s 400m individual medley on the first day of competition at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games .

McIntosh has now set the stage for a dramatic showdown with Australia’s superstars Ariane Titmus in the 400m freestyle and Kaylee McKeown in the 200m individual medley later in the competition.

In the medley final early Saturday Australian time McIntosh led from the start with a powerful butterfly leg and was streets ahead of the opposition to clock 4min29.01 for a new junior world record and the fourth fastest time in history, even eclipsing the time of then 20 year old Stephanie Rice who won the gold medal for Australia at the Beijing Olympics.

Australia’s Kiah Melverton, one of Ddean Boxall’s swimmers in Queensland, came from fifth at the end of the breaststroke leg to pick up the silver medal and Scot Katie Shanahan won the the bronze.

Titmus, who has swum three seconds faster than the Canadian youngster in the 400m freestyle would have been watching Mcintosh’s progression with great interest.

Swimming analysts believe that McIntosh has the pedigree to become this generation’s superstar swimmer and will be in her prime at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

McIntosh’s mother Jill Horstead won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal int he 200m butterfly, at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and its an event that McIntosh decided to cancel this time to concentrate on the medley.

McIntosh’s elder sister Brooke is also a champion athlete, winning a world junior bronze medal in figure skating this April.

3:30AM WATCH IT BACK

Here’s a mock up of how the Aussie women’s pursuit won gold!

Australia’s women’s pursuit team has obliterated the Commonwealth Games record as they comfortable defended their title.

The Australian foursome of Georgia Baker, Maeve Plouffe, Sophie Edwards and Chloe Moran were the red-hot favourites to take out the 4000m teams pursuit on the first day of action at the Lee Valley velodrome and they did not disappoint as they blew away their rivals.

The Australian team were red hot in the qualifying, posting a new Commonwealth Games record en route to qualifying fastest.

With England disappointing, despite boasting Dame Laura Kelly, the New Zealand team were Australia’s biggest threats.

But the New Zealand team were without young gun Ally Wollaston after she fractured her wrist after crashing at the Tour de France Femmes.

This meant they had to use Ellesse Andrews, who is a sprinter, in the early stages of the pursuit because they were short of numbers.

With just three riders for most of the race, New Zealand were nearly caught by the dominant Australian side with their time of 4:12.234 two seconds than the previous Commonwealth Games record they set in qualifying.

DOPING BOSS ISSUES SOBERING WARNING TO DRUG CHEATS

World Anti-Doping Agency president Witold Banka says it is impossible to eliminate doping from sport.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the 37-year-old former polish sprinter believes WADA’s function as “prosecutor and policeman” should also include a role as an educator. But he has little time for athletes’ excuses that they were unaware they were taking a banned substance or those who are not available for out-of-competition testing.
“When I was an athlete I was known for being a constant caller to a Polish hotline as to whether the cream I was taking for an injury was OK,” he said.

“If you decide to be an athlete you have to be responsible for your career and that includes what you eat or drink, indeed for everything.

“I do not buy the arguments about their whereabouts — ‘Oh I did not have a network or I do not know how the whereabouts measure works’.

“Well, my reply is they had no problems at the same time of posting photos of where they are on Instagram or Twitter. It is not hard to send an email.”

As Banka contemplates a second three-year term he says WADA is in a much better place than it was seven years ago.

He is adamant that while lines of communication are open with Russia’s anti-doping agency following the “state-sponsored doping scandal”, they will not “get a free pass to cheat or to create a paradise for cheats”.

 1:55AM CYCLING GOLD FOR AUSTRALIA

By Simeon Thomas-Wilson in London

Jess Gallagher and pilot Caitlin Ward have claimed Australia’s first gold medal of the track cycling program at the Commonwealth Games after a sensational ride in the women’s tandem sprint.

Gallagher and Ward took out both races in the final against Scotland’s Alieen McGlynn and Ellie Stone.

The Scottish duo nearly forced a third and deciding race, but thrillingly Gallagher and Ward were able to pip them to the line and take home the gold.

In the first race of the final the two teams were shoulder to shoulder for most of the first two laps.

Gallagher and Ward had the crowd gasping after they came close to colliding with their Scottish opponents.

They were able to get past McGlynn and Stone soon after and weren’t troubled from there.

Gallagher was the first ever Australian to win a medal at the winter and summer Paralympics.

She won the winter Paralympic medal in skiing and the summer one in cycling.

She has also competed at the Paralympics in athletics and is currently turning her hand to rowing.

She thought her days competing in the velodrome were over when her previous partner retired but after deciding to have a crack at the Commonwealth Games she was able to find a new pilot in Ward.

England’s Sophie Unwin, piloted by Georgia Holt took bronze.

In the men’s 1000m tandem time trial Beau Woottoon and pilot Luke Zaccaria were briefly in the medal contention but eventually finished fourth.

Scotland’s Neil Fachie with pilot Stewart Lewis thrillingly pipped Wales’ James Ball and Matthew Rotheram in a new Commonwealth Games record to claim the first medal of the track program.

 FAN FAVOURITE IN BIRMINGHAM

By Eliza Barr

An unexpected crowd favourite has emerged at the gymnastics in Birmingham.

Pakistan’s 39-year-old has an extraordinary history in the sport.

Afzal made his international debut 19 years ago at the 2003 Al-Fajr event in Iran, and also competed at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

He fell heavily on the floor, the rings and the vault but has elicited raucous applause from the crowd after commentators unveiled his long history in gymnastics.

Pakistani news website The News described gymnastics as Pakistan’s “most deprived sport” in an interview with Afzal on July 18, where he revealed he had been using 50-year-old equipment to train.

“If you are to perform in an international circuit you need to practice with the international standard equipment at home,” Afzal told The News.

12:51AM: CODY SIMPSON LIVING OUT HIS ‘WILD DREAM’

Cody Simpson is through to his first Commonwealth Games semi final after a strong hitout in the 50m butterfly.

Overall three Australians have qualified for the semi finals with Kyle Chalmers the fastest overall this morning with a well-timed swim to hit the wall in 23.45 in the final heat of the morning.

In the previous heat, Simpson recorded a swim of 23.84 to qualify 10th fastest with Matt Temple also through notching a time of 23.70 seconds.

Plenty of attention was on Simpson who only returned to the pool last year after a career in pop music in which he became a teen sensation. But he returned to the pool to “scratch the itch” he always had for the sport of swimming.

Asked about how he felt, Simpson was delighted with his swim. “(It’s) pretty wild, you dream about it, to hopefully get here and repping the country. It’s special to be here. It’s the fire that never left, never went out. An itch I had to scratch. 2024 will be a bonus.

“I’m here to try to get as much experience as I can. I was pretty relieved when they told me I could swim the 50…it’s a good way to get a feel for the pool.”

12:46AM GONE IN 30 SECONDS

By Eliza Barr

It took under 30 seconds and a decisive right-hander for West Australian boxer Billy Polkinghorn to fell his first round opponent in the light welterweight category with a knockout.

The British-born, Perth-based 25-year-old needed just 27 seconds to deal the knockout blow to the Seychelles’ Fabio Taryll Liam Roselie at the National Exhibition Centre on Friday afternoon.

Polkinghorn landed his right hand on his opponent’s nose and cheek, with Polkinghorn now set to advance to the next clash with Uganda’s Tukamuhebwa.

In Birmingham, Polkinghorn told AAP he had done his homework ahead of the bout with Roselie.

“I searched him (Roselie) on YouTube and I saw he likes to flick out that lead hand, get a bit lazy,” Polkinghorn told AAP.

“So I really thought I’d try and capitalise, coming over the top with a big, strong right hand and we caught him early on and just followed it up again and the ref waved it off.”

Tukamuhebwa took down Northern Ireland’s John Paul Hale, with Polkinghorn now preparing to take on his next opponent in his pursuit of the gold medal.

Australian athlete Harry Garside took home gold on the Gold Coast in 2018, with Polkinghorn is aspiring to follow in his long-time rival’s footsteps.

Billy Polkinghorn of Team Australia (Blue) punches Fabio Taryll Liam Roselie of Team Seychelles
Billy Polkinghorn of Team Australia (Blue) punches Fabio Taryll Liam Roselie of Team Seychelles

12:38AM PERFECT TWIST FOR BOWLERS

Australia has fired the opening salvo in its quest for gold in the men’s triple bowls on day one at the Commonwealth Games.

Led by Ben Twist, Australia notched a 29 to 7 victory over Niue followed by a 25-15 win in a high-scoring battle against the Cook Islands.

It was the perfect way for Twist to celebrate his milestone in the green and gold. “It’s pretty awesome that my 100th game for Australia coincided with my first in the Commonwealth Games,” Twist said. “(Lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games) is fantastic: plenty of hype, and everything done really well. It’s great on the bigger stage. The reason you play bowls is for stuff like this.”

12:10AM DIAMONDS OFF TO A FLYING START

By Erin Smith

Sharp shooting from Gretel Bueta has helped the Aussie Diamonds make the host nation aware they don’t plan on leaving Birmingham with anything but gold.

The Diamonds put a strong seven out on court to start the game against underdogs Barbados and they went full tilt for the entire 60 minutes – finishing ahead 95 to 18.

Bueta netted 44 of the Diamonds 52 goals in the first half, with vice captain and GA Steph Wood providing vital assists.

Defender Courtney Bruce wasn’t kept too busy in the circle but made it as difficult for Barbados as possible when the ball did make its way down the court, creating nine turnovers and snagging three intercepts in the first half – limiting Barbados to just nine goals.

While there were a few green and gold supporters among the 9000 plus fans, the large contingent of English supporters, who remained in the stands after watching England defeat Trinidad and Tobago, were clearly cheering for Barbados – erupting each time they netted a point.

 11:05PM CRICKET: AUSTRALIA’S INCREDIBLE COMEBACK

By Will Swanton

Australia has survived a horror batting collapse to pinch victory in its opening T20 match at the Commonwealth Games. Alyssa Healy became the first wicketkeeper, male or female, to pass 100 dismissals in the abbreviated format before a blockbuster innings from Ash Gardner steered the gold medal favourites to a tense three-wicket triumph over India at Edgbaston.

Healy took two catches in India’s respectable knock of 8-154 to reach 101 for her international career. India gloveman MS Dhoni’s finished his marathon career on 91. When Healy went for a second-ball duck to trigger a procession of departures from the vaunted top order, leaving Australia on the ropes at 5-49, a shockingly emphatic defeat was on the cards. But Grace Harris plundered 37 from 20 deliveries and Gardner belted 52 from 35 balls to post a crucial win in the round-robin event.

It was all going south when Lanning was sent packing for eight, Beth Mooney had her woodwork disturbed for 10, Tahlia McGrath said goodbye for 14 and Rachael Haynes trudged off for nine. All the big guns were gone and so was Australia, it seemed, but Gardner came to the rescue via nine fours that sounded like cannon blasts from her bat.

READ THE FULL MATCH REPORT

10.31PM DEFENDING CHAMPS OFF TO HOT START

By Erin Smith in Birmingham

English Roses fans will have sore hands from applauding each of the home side’s 74 goals against Trinidad and Tobago.

Every single goal was cheered just as loudly as the first, as was every intercept and deflection.

The 74-22 win was expected but England had a clear home court advantage with the players lapping up the love from the stands and the substitutes joining in the chants and cheers.

With some tough matches coming up, especially against New Zealand, the vocal crowd could help England dig a little deeper in the close matches.

The Diamonds will be next up on the NEC Arena court against Barbados.

England’s netballers are off to a hot start at the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
England’s netballers are off to a hot start at the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

England Roses defender Stacey Francis-Bayman described the atmosphere inside NEC Arena as “wild”.

“I don’t think we have ever been cheered so loudly before for a warm-up,” Francis-Bayman said following the big win over Trinidad and Tobago.

The Roses were also treated to a standing ovation from the 9000 strong crowd following their first win of the Games.

A Brummie, the defender said it was just “incredible” to run out and play for her country in the city she grew up in.

She was very impressed with the result of today’s game.

“It was bloody fantastic. We have such strength and depth which is really important in a competition like this,” Francis-Bayman said.

The defender, who starred for West Coast Fever in the Super Netball this year, is keen to add a gold medal to her SSN grand final triumph a few weeks ago.

10.25PM ZAC TO ATTACK IN 200M FINAL

By Jacquelin Magnay in Birmingham

Australia’s best male swimmer, the world and Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook says he will go into the 200m breaststroke final overnight “with new confidence” after particularly strong training of late.

With the world record already against his name Stubblety-Cook says the recent run of hard competitions has prepared him for the Commonwealth Games.

His current world record is 2mins05.95, clocked in Adelaide at the national swim trials and, at the June world championships in Budapest, he won the title, but narrowly missed posting a new world mark.

But the word from the training pool in Birmingham is that Stubblety-Cook, quiet and polite outside of the pool, has been smashing his times of late.

“I think I am training well,’’ he agreed on Friday after his heat swim of 2mins09.88s

“I think the world championship campaign was a little different – there was a whole new pressure and a whole new, I guess mental element. Then going to world champs after the Olympics and (Australian swim) trials was a very different experience. But getting that out of the way and getting through that has definitely given me a lot of confidence coming into this international meet.’’

Zac Stubblety-Cook in action in Birmingham. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Zac Stubblety-Cook in action in Birmingham. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Stubblety-Cook says there won’t be any tag-teaming, but will be aware if his Australian team mate Matt Wilson storms to an early lead in the final.

Stubblety-Cook is renowned for his powerful last lap bursts, mowing down the opposition, while Wilson, a previous world record holder over the distance, has the complete opposite strategy: to go out hard and try to hold it.

Stubblety-Cook said it was always fun to race Wilson.

“I mean we have a good rivalry and he’s somewhat that races it the complete opposite way to what I do, but it’s always fun to race him and I hope he gets a really fast result as well,’’ he said.

Wilson has had his preparation interrupted by a long and nasty bout of covid-19 just prior to the trials, where he had been hoping to focus on the shorter 100m breaststroke. He said Stubblety-Cook was in top shape.

”I think Zach has got a big time coming, looking at what he did in the heat,’’ said Wilson, noting that the Queenslander could sit on his shoulder for the first half of the race and then home over the top.

“Covid ruined my plans but lucky I’ve still got that muscle memory for the 200m and that has been my only focus for the past couple of months,’’ he said.

 9:50PM CYCLING: Aussies smash another record

By Simeon Thomas-Wilson in London

Australia will start as red-hot favourites for the gold medal in the men’s team sprint after setting a new Commonwealth Games record in qualifying.

The male team sprint of Leigh Hoffman, Matt Richardson and Matt Glaetzer are considered one of Australia’s best chances for gold on the first day of action at the Lee Valley velodrome in London.

And they lived up to the pre-race billing in impressive fashion.

After New Zealand, the reigning champions, had set the fastest time the Australian team came out extremely quick in the first stages of the race – nearly a second quicker than their counterparts from across the Tasman.

The margin only got bigger as young gun Richardson continued to put time between the two and then Glaezter – the elder statesman of the team – brought it home.

Not only were they 1.752 seconds quicker than New Zealand but the trio’s time of 42.222 smashed the previous Commonwealth Games record of 42.822.

Australia will take on England in the gold medal race after they overcame a false start to finish second fastest.

9:40PM ALYSSA HEALY MAKES HISTORY (AGAIN)

By Will Swanton

Alyssa Healy has become the first T20 international wicketkeeper, male or female, to pass 100 dismissals. Healy’s two catches at Edgbaston pushed her haul to 101, ten more than ex-India men’s captain MS Dhoni finished his marathon career on. Healy’s two victims on day one of the Commonwealth Games were crucial – Indian dangerwomen Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma, who fell for 24 and 48 respectively. The Indians got off to a flyer but Australia has restricted them to 8-154. That’s a challenging yet makeable target.

India's Shafali Verma (L) is caught behind by Australia's Alyssa Healy during the women's Twenty20 cricket match
India’s Shafali Verma (L) is caught behind by Australia’s Alyssa Healy during the women’s Twenty20 cricket match

8:59PM: NETBALL EXPECTING RECORD CROWDS

By Erin Smith

Close to 9000 netball fans have packed into the NEC Arena to watch two of the world’s best teams take to the court in the first netball session of the Commonwealth Games.

A live DJ and light shows kept the crowd, which started piling into the stands an hour before the first match, entertained and built an impressive atmosphere.

It is very clear most fans are here to cheer on reigning gold medal winners the English Roses, who will take on Trinidad and Tobago first up, with red shirts galore and flags in the stands. The Roses were greeted to a massive round of applause and cheer when they came out to warm up.

There are a few green and gold shirts scattered through the crowd itching to watch the Diamonds take on Barbados in the second match of the day.

 TRIATHLON: BRONZE FOR AUSTRALIA

Matthew Hauser has won Australia’s first medal of the Commonwealth Games after finishing third in the men’s triathlon but the real winning moment came from New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde for an incredible act of sportsmanship.

The Kiwi athlete knew he had incurred a 10-second penalty so stopped running shortly before the finish line to allow second-place Alex Yee from England to cross the line and have his moment.

Amid calls the penalty was harsh and controversial, the official explanation was that Wilde was sanctioned for his transition between the cycle and the running leg. Athletes are not allowed to unstrap their helmets before their bike is racked.

8:22PM CRICKET LATEST

By Will Swanton

Australia is clawing its way back after India got off to a flyer in the T20 match at Edgbaston. After refusing to praise Meg Lanning’s team in the lead-up, Smriti Mandhana threatened a massive innings, reaching 24 from 17 balls in an aggressive early onslaught before falling to a nick to wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy from the bowling of Darcie Brown. The Indians are slowing at 2-72 in the tenth over and Yastika Bhatia has trudged off after a run out. Shafali Verma is dangerous, though, on 35 after 26 balls. The Edgbaston audience so far falls short of the forecast sell-out.

 CYCLING: AUSSIES BREAK RECORD BUT FALL SHORT

BY SIMEON THOMAS-WILSON

Australia’s women’s sprint team set a new Commonwealth Games record but still couldn’t qualify for the gold medal race.

The Australian trio of Alessia McCaig, Kristina Clonan and Breanna Hargrave was one of three teams to set a new Commonwealth Games record during qualifying at the Lee Valley velodrome in London.

They were the second to do so, in a time of 48.355, after Scotland first set the new games record mark in the previous heat.

But the New Zealand team of Rebecca Petch, Olivia King and Ellesse Andrews immediately went and produced a time of 47.841.

Canada’s Sarah Orban, Kelsey Mitchell and Lauriane Genest then relegated Australia to the bronze medal race after they posted the second fast time of the day.

Australia will take on Wales in the bronze medal race.

 7:55PM SWIMMING: Aussies flex their muscles in 400m free

By Jacquelin Magnay

Australia will have three men in the final of the 400m men’s freestyle final, but not the fastest qualifier. After the morning heat swims, it was Northern Irish swimmer Daniel Wiffen who clocked the fastest time of 3mins47.43, ahead of the more fancied Australians Elijah Winnington, Sam Short and Mack Horton.

The Australians looked comfortable in the heats, although Winnington, perhaps showing some signs of nerves, started with a sub world record first 200m before easing up in the second half of the race and pacing alongside Short.

Winnington’s time of 3:48.22 over sevens seconds behind his winning time at the world championships in Budapest showing just how much is left in the tank. Rio Olympic gold medallist Horton touched the wall in 3:47.54.

The swim was a solid hit out after learning from the recent world championships in Budapest where he mistimed his heat and missed the final by a fraction. The morning heats are being held before a near sold out crowd at the Sandwell Aquatics centre.

The Australian squad is sitting at the far end of the pool, away from other teams and no comprises just a handful of officials.

Canada’s Summer McIntosh has shown why she is the talk of the pool with an emphatic heat swim in the women’s 400m individual medley. McIntosh is still just 15 and she showed the endurance form that earned her two Budapest world championship titles several weeks ago. As the youngest superstar to emerge since the Tokyo Olympics last year, and just three weeks shy of turning 16, McIntosh will be looking for an early birthday present here. She cruised to victory in her heat in 4:36.72. Australians Kiah Melverton and Jenna Forrester also qualified for the final.

8:15PM AUSSIES LIGHT UP THE SWIMMING

Australia has sent shivers through the field of the women’s 200m freestyle with all three women, led by the Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus delivering strong efforts in the heats, and signalling a powerful position for the 4x200m freestyle relay.

The superstar Ariarne Titmus cruised in her heat, yet comfortably touched in 1.55.68, signalling that the long standing world record, held by Italian Frederica Pellegrini, is within touch in the final.

Pellegrini set that time of 1min52.98s back in 2009 and has been a target of Titmus’ for some time.

Titmus told Channel Seven: “It’s nice to blow cobwebs out, I haven’t had a race for a while, and its a mini model of what I wanted to do tonight (in the final). I knew I didn’t have to go too hard this morning.”

Cate Campbell, poolside in commentary observed that Titmus, her former Olympic roommate wasn’t even puffing.

 7:33PM AEST CYCLING: AUSSIES SMASH GAMES RECORD!

By Simeon Thomas-Wilson in London

Australia’s women’s pursuit team has seriously flexed their muscles in qualifying for the 4000m pursuit, posting a new Commonwealth Games record.

The Australian team of Georgia Baker, Maeve Plouffe, Sophie Edwards and Chloe Moran were considered the team to beat in the 4000m team pursuit and they lived up to the expectation and more with an impressive ride to lay down the marker.

They finished with a time of 4:14.605, a new Games record.

New Zealand lost Ellesse Andrews early on in their ride but were still able to post a quicker time than host nation England – despite having the legendary Dame Laura Kelly in their ride.

Australia will take on New Zealand in the gold medal race.

New Zealand suffered a huge blow just days out from the Commonwealth Games beginning after young gun Ally Wollaston fractured her wrist after crashing at the Tour de France Femmes.

This meant New Zealand had to use Andrews, who is a sprinter, in the early stages of the pursuit because they were short of numbers.

Meanwhile, Jess Gallagher has breezed into the women’s tandem sprint final.

After posting the fastest time in qualifying with pilot Caitlin Ward, to lay down a serious marker, Gallagher was able to comfortably account for Scotland’s Libby Clegg – piloted by Jenny Holl.

They will take on Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn and pilot Ellie Stone in the decider.

7PM AEST ‘NEVER KNEW SUCH HOMOPHOBIA EXISTED IN AUSTRALIA’

Olympic diver Tom Daley has taken aim at Australia saying he had “no idea such homophobia still existed” amid the Manly Pride round jersey fiasco.

The British diver – who won’t be competing at the Commonwealth Games after taking a break from competition – carried the Queen’s Baton into the Opening Ceremony on Thursday night (local time) surrounded by rainbow flag bearers as he made “a historic” stand against homophobia.

A long-standing advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Daley was asked for his thoughts on the pride jersey saga which has divided Manly’s playing group after seven players boycotted the club’s do-or-die clash against the Roosters.

“I see Australia as this very liberal place, so to see homophobia like that still exists is concerning,” Daley told Fairfax.

“I had no idea that such homophobia still existed in Australia.

“Good on the players who wanted to play. I don’t think [the NRL] should stand for such strong views against a marginalised population. How would it be if you took a stance against any kind of minority? Why is it OK to do that against queer people?”

Earlier this week, Daley who married husband Dustin Lance Black in 2017, highlighted the number of Comm Games competing nations where same sex relationships remain illegal and in some cases carry a sentence of life imprisonment.

“Thirty-five out of the 56 Commonwealth member states criminalise same-sex relations,” Daly, who married husband Dustin Lance Black in 2017, told the Guardian. “That’s half the countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality.

“LGBT+ athletes must be safe and feel comfortable being their authentic selves without fear of persecution or death.”

 6:45PM RUGBY SEVENS: AUSSIE DEMOLISH SOUTH AFRICA 38-0

By Joe Barton

It took Australia just 35 seconds to flex their muscle as serious gold medal fancies before a dominant first-half blitz cemented a statement win in the women’s rugby Sevens opener.

In a brutal first half that consisted of one-way traffic in the direction of the South African tryline, Australia ran in four tries, barely had to make a tackle and sent a warning shot to all of their Commonwealth Games rivals.

Madison Levi, who bagged a first-half double, opened the scoring before many people at the Coventry Stadium had a chance to take their seats – sprinting 60m down the sideline to kick-start the rout.

Veteran Charlotte Caslick, one of the last remaining links to the 2016 Rio Olympics gold medal winners, scored a double either side of halftime – including a sensational 90m try to open the scoring in the second half.

Speedster Faith Nathan also found her way onto the scoreboard, while Madi Ashby scored after the fulltime siren to close out the 38-0 shellacking.

“It’s been a long week,” Levi said. “The first game is always a bit of a battle, but I feel we were becoming a bit fresher as the game went on.

“The sisterhood and the culture we’ve built, we play for one another. I want to win a gold medal as much as my sister next to me. We all play effort on effort.”

Australia will next play Scotland in the evening session on Friday.

5:40 PM The Terminator out to get what should already be hers

– Julian Linden

Ariarne Titmus wants to officially claim the world record that she should already have in her possession — but has been robbed of the title by swimming’s bumbling officials.

The double Olympic champion already has the 400m freestyle record after knocking Katie Ledecky off her perch and now she wants the 200m record she deserves.

If swimming was fair dinkum, Titmus would already have the record, but the clueless FINA officials who allowed the sport to be hijacked by super suits more than a decade ago, dropped the ball.

Despite being warned what was coming, they stood back and did nothing as some of the greatest records in swimming were sunk by competitors aided by suits that provided extra buoyancy.

Those suits were later banned, but shamefully, the records set in them were allowed to stand, torpedoing some of the sport’s greatest achievements and denying future generations their places in the history books. The oldest record in women’s swimming is the 200m freestyle mark of 1:52.98 set by Italy’s Federica Pellegrini at the infamous 2009 world championships in Rome.

OPENING CEREMONY RECAP: ENGLAND’S MESSAGE OF INCLUSION

Ariarne Titmus wants to officially claim the world record. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Ariarne Titmus wants to officially claim the world record. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Considered untouchable for 13 years, suddenly it’s under siege from Titmus, who has twice come within half a second of breaking it, going 1:53.09 at last year’s Olympic trials then 1:53.31 at the Australian championships in May.

The Terminator has made no secret she wants the record and has another great shot at breaking it on the opening day of swimming finals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“That’s definitely a big goal of mine,” she told News Corp. “But I’m not going to prioritise it though because if I really think about it, it’s not going to happen. So I just need to keep training the way I have and hopefully that’s going to make me better.”

Aussie swim fans love Titmus because she fights like a tiger in the pool and she calls things as they are on dry land.

And when it comes to Pellegrini’s record, Titmus is spot-on when she says the reason it’s been so hard for anyone to break is because the Italian got a helping hand from the now-banned outfit she wore.

“The suit definitely helped her in the back end,” Titmus said. “Her last 50m was insane, so if you‘re right on the (world record) line with 50m to go there’s no way that you’re going to get it.

“Every time I’ve been close to it, you go back and watch the race and I’m half a body length in front of it with 20m to go and then just the extra buoyancy made her last part of the race just incredibly fast.”

Titmus has a great shot at breaking the record on opening day of swimming finals. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Titmus has a great shot at breaking the record on opening day of swimming finals. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

If the tainted supersuit times were wiped from the books, Titmus would hold the fastest three times in history, but currently sits in second, third and fourth place.

The trick for Titmus is pacing the race to perfection. Because she is not a natural speedster, her best work comes in the second half of the race, but to combat Pellegrini’s, she also needs to go out fast and keep enough in reserve to charge home.

“It is possible but for me to go out quicker in the 200m, it takes a lot more physical exertion than for the specialist 100m swimmers,” she said. “To be going out as fast as them on the first 100m in the 200m free, that’s really motoring for me, so it’s about trying to make that as easy as possible so that my back end can be there.

“It’s an incredible record and it’s no wonder it hasn’t been broken.

“Even the times where I have come close, I’ve been really happy with the races, but it’s just an incredibly fast time.”

4:30 PM CANADIAN POOL PARTY POOPER

A young woman on a mission? Or a glutton for punishment?

Canada’s rising swim sensation Summer McIntosh could be a bit of both. If the experts are right, the 15-year-old is on her way to becoming the next big thing in women’s swimming — even that means gate crashing the pool party for Australia’s golden girls.

From a swimming family, McIntosh’s mother Jill Horstead swam for Canada at the Los Angeles Olympics, and her teenage daughter is already so highly regarded in the sport that the Australian swimwear maker Funkita has signed her up as a global ambassador. McIntosh’s best is still yet to come but she has already made a massive splash in the sport, chasing home Ariarne Titmus and Katie Ledecky at the Tokyo Olympics when she was 14.

She just won two individual gold medals at last month’s world championships — all before she’s old enough to get a driver’s licence — and she’s about to take the plunge at the Commonwealth Games.

Summer McIntosh has put a target on the Aussies. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty
Summer McIntosh has put a target on the Aussies. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty

Her clash with Titmus in the 400m freestyle is building up as one of the biggest blockbuster races in Birmingham. Titmus has already beaten McIntosh once — and easily — by almost six seconds in Tokyo when she was preoccupied fighting off Ledecky for the gold.

Impressively, ‘Arnie’ has improved her best time by 0.19 seconds in the past year to claim Ledecky’s world record but it’s not the American who looms as her biggest threat going forward; It’s the pint-sized Canadian who has carved more than three seconds off her best time in the last 12 months and is closing in quick. In an exclusive interview, McIntosh revealed she had learnt a lot from watching and racing against Titmus and was now better prepared.

“I’m just really excited to race her again since it’s been a while since the Olympics and I was obviously quite far behind so it wasn’t much of a race.

CONDOM WARNING FOR COMM GAMES ATHLETES

Stock up on sun cream, hats and condoms — and be aware of monkeypox at the Birmingham 2022.

That’s the advice from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to the tens of thousands of visitors attending the Commonwealth Games.

The UKHSA is warning of possible infections spreading in the city, as well as sexually transmitted diseases and the effects of hot weather combined with excessive boozing.

With the weather set to be sunny and hot over the course of the Games, Caryn Cox, health protection consultant with UKHSA West Midlands, is advising people to stay hydrated and practice safe sex.

A medical health worker prepares a dose of the Monkeypox vaccine.
A medical health worker prepares a dose of the Monkeypox vaccine.
A skin lesion caused by the monkeypox virus.
A skin lesion caused by the monkeypox virus.

“The Met Office is forecasting a sizzling few weeks during the Games, so we all need to slap on the sun cream, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, seek shade at the hottest times of the day (11am to 3pm) and stay hydrated.

“Having so many people coming together to watch the Games and enjoy the celebratory events taking place across the region, there is a greater risk of spreading infections, whether it’s a stomach bug that can spread by poor hand hygiene or infections including COVID-19.

“In both instances, it’s best to stay at home if you’re ill. Also, it’s advisable that you’re up to date with your routine vaccinations, like MMR, MenACWY and COVID-19 before mixing with lots of people.

“With a party atmosphere and lots of people visiting the region, it’s really important to practise safe sex, to prevent possible spread of sexually transmitted infections. So, remember to use condoms, and if you’ve had unprotected sex, get tested for STIs.

“While monkeypox isn’t an STI, it can be transmitted through close physical contact, so look out for any symptoms and contact a sexual health clinic if you suspect you may have that or any sexually transmitted infection.”

WHAT’S ON? SEE THE FULL COMM GAMES SCHEDULE HERE

HOST NATION’S WARNING FOR AUSSIES

Game on, England.

There may be 72 countries in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games — but it’s the rivalry between the two big name countries that is the main event.

England fired the first shot this week when its Chef de Mission Mark England said the number one priority was to finish ahead of Australia on the medal tally.

But with the Australians forecasting more than 80 medals in the pool alone, that isn’t going to be an easy task.

At the last Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, host nation Australia won the Ashes battle with 198 medals, including 80 golds, compared to England’s 136 gongs, of which 45 were gold.

England is planning to upstage Australia and make a big impression on home soil.
England is planning to upstage Australia and make a big impression on home soil.

“Our aspiration is to top the medal table,” said Mark England, the aptly named chef de mission of Team England. ‘That is what we are here for.

“It will be a pretty good arm wrestle with Australia. Everyone wants to come to the host nation and do the best they can against them.

“But we have 429 athletes and 500 support staff who absolutely want to top the medal table — and we have a nation that wants to do that as well. We are going to give it everything.

“I can’t say where we will be in two weeks’ time because sport is not predictable.

“But everything we could have possibly done to support the athletes is in play.”

In England’s squad, there are more women than men — 226 to 203 — for the first time and there are 67 para athletes.”

Birmingham 2022 is the biggest multi-sport event in this country since London 2012.

Australia’s Chef de Mission Petria Thomas says the team was determined to finish at number one.

“I think, you know, we’ve made no secret of the fact that we’d love to finish on top of the medal tall,” she said.

“We had a very strong Commonwealth Games at home on the Gold Coast but we’re away from home and it’s always harder when you’re away. And we’re also on English home soil.

“So we’re well aware that it will be a fight but I think it the athletes will compete with such spirit they’ll fight every result.

“Hopefully we can give it a good crack and take that number one spot again.”

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