BIRMINGHAM: Australian swim sensation Emma McKeon won a record-extending 12th gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Monday as cycling star Laura Kenny finished her campaign with an emotional gold.
It was another night of domination in the Birmingham pool for Australia, who now have 16 golds at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre out of a possible 33.
McKeon, who powered home in the 50m butterfly, has now won four golds in Birmingham and has collected more overall gold medals than any other athlete in Commonwealth Games history.
The 28-year-old, who won seven medals at last year’s Tokyo Olympics — including four golds — touched in 25.90sec.
“I love a challenge,” said McKeon. “Just having this huge workload is preparing me for Paris [2024 Olympics] and even though it’s hard workload physically, it’s just training my mind to be able to do that many races back to back. I’m not going to have that many once I get to Paris. It’s just building that self-belief.”
Rising Canadian star Summer McIntosh, who is just 15, won her second gold of the Games, adding the women’s 200m individual medley title to her 400m IM crown.
Australia’s Kyle Chalmers won the men’s 100m freestyle final in 47.51sec after a 48-hour period that he described as “hell” as a result of intense speculation in the media over his relationships with team members.
Reports suggested a rift with McKeon and Cody Simpson, who is reportedly dating McKeon, Chalmers’s ex-girlfriend.
The 2016 Olympic champion said: “The lies and false truths getting put out there — it’s nowhere near the truth at all.
“We are great friends and have great support. I am just grateful to be a part of the team and sharing that with every single team member.”
Australian Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown destroyed the field to win the women’s 200m backstroke and Australia rounded off the night in style by winning the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay.
England’s Kenny and Australian Matthew Glaetzer won gold medals in an uplifting final session of track cycling, which was being held in London.
New Zealand’s Ellesse Andrews, in the women’s keirin, and compatriot Aaron Gate, in the men’s 40km points race, both won their third gold medals of the games.
Kenny, who has suffered a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy since competing at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, admitted she had thought it was “going to be my last race”.
However, she refocused and won the women’s 10-kilometre scratch on the same track where 10 years ago, aged 20, she won double Olympic gold.
Kenny admitted her confidence had been shaken by a horrific crash on Sunday that had resulted in her team-mate, Matt Walls, being taken to hospital.
“I can’t believe it. Honestly, I said to Jase [Jason Kenny, her husband] ‘I think this is going to be my last race’,” the five-time Olympic gold medallist told the BBC.
“I’ve lost the spark, training doesn’t come that easy. I have absolutely just lost motivation.
“Then last night I was messaging my new coach Len and I was like ‘No, I’m not giving up, I have one more roll of the dice, please just help me’.
“It could not have been better set up if I tried.”
Glaetzer battled back from thyroid cancer to compete at the Olympics.
But after some wretched luck in Birmingham — coming to grief in the keirin and then stripped of his bronze medal in the sprint on Sunday — he won the men’s 1,000m time trial to add to his gold in the team sprint.
“I’m making a habit of bouncing back at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“I’d rather not have such lows to come back from, but it shows there is always a new day and we can always try again.”
England extended their domination of the gymnastics competition.
Local boy Joe Fraser battled through the pain of a fractured foot to take gold in the pommel horse while Jake Jarman won the men’s floor to go with his men’s all-around title.
“I can hands down say that was probably the best routine I’ve done in my gymnastics career,” said Jarman.
England’s Courtney Tulloch retained his rings title as Georgia Mae-Fenton took gold in the women’s uneven bars.
Australia’s Georgia Goodwin won the women’s vault.
England have won seven of the nine golds on offer so far in the gymnastics competition.
Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2022