England fill Melbourne pursuit podium

The home nations get a good start on the Melbourne Commonwealth Games track, with England sweeping t

The home nations get a good start on the Melbourne Commonwealth Games track, with England sweeping t

PIC BY PETER COSSINS

English riders filled the first three places in the 4,000m individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Paul Manning took the gold when he clocked 4-23.799 to beat team-mates Rob Hayles by almost five seconds in the final, while Steve Cummings took the ride-off for the bronze medal when he clocked 4-24.767 to beat New Zealander Jason Allen.

"An English 1-2-3 is fabulous," said Manning. "We have been riding very well and always knew it was possible. As for getting England's first gold of the Games, it's a fabulous achievement."

England also took two silver medals on the track on the opening day of the Games. 2000 Olympic kilometre champion Jason Queally finished an extremely close second to Australia's Ben Kersten in the kilo. Queally, 35, finished 0.034 behind Kersten, who clocked 1-01.815. Reigning Olympic champion Chris Hoy took the bronze for Scotland with 1-02.071.

Victoria Pendleton was also denied gold by an Australian in the 500-metre time trial. Anna Meares gave the home nation their first victory of the Games when she followed a new Games record of 34.662 by Pendelton by recording a time of 34.326. The bronze was taken by Anna's sister, Kerrie, who was the defending champion in the event.

"We had the most important people in our lives cheering us on, and that's what made it so sweet a victory," said Anna Meares. Despite her short-lived Games record time, Pendleton admitted she was slightly disappointed with her performance. "Technically, I was a bit disappointed but I am going well and the track is awesome. I am looking forward to the sprint now," said the world sprint champion.

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