Sports News | Kiwi Rider rebounds from stripped cash to claim second gold medal
Birmingham, July 31 (AP) Stripped of a medal and rewarded with a fine, New Zealand cyclist Ellesse Andrews turned the tide in stunning fashion at the Commonwealth Games.
Andrews stunned Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell in the women’s sprint at the Lee Valley Velodrome, shaking the Canadian in both races to win the gold medal.
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Andrews’ second gold at the Birmingham Games followed his success for New Zealand in the team sprint on Friday, but his run could have been more significant.
With her country needing a rider on Friday in the 4,000m team pursuit after Ally Wollaston broke her wrist in the Women’s Tour de France, Andrews agreed to step in.
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Commonwealth Games rules require four runners to start and, with no reservations in the squad, New Zealand named the sprint star in order to compete.
Andrews started the qualifying heat and the final, but immediately dropped the Kiwi quartet to conserve energy for his duties in the team sprint.
She was warming up for the final of that race when the 4,000 meter team pursuit medal ceremony took place and as a result did not take her place on the podium.
His absence broke a rule by cycling’s governing body UCI, which fined Andrews 200 francs ($210), denied him the silver medal and anchored his race points.
The result will go down in her palmares, with New Zealand winning the silver medal, but Andrews will not have a physical medal to go along with the two gold medals she won in those games.
That didn’t diminish his joy after his triumph on Saturday.
“It’s going to take a while for the results from the last two days to settle in,” Andrews said. “My grandma and grandpa love coming to watch the races and this is my first elite result ahead of them because they couldn’t come to Tokyo.
“To be able to go give them a big hug afterwards, I can’t even explain how special it is.”
The UCI has also fined an English para-cycling team who protested after they were denied the chance to take part in a medal ceremony.
Sophie Unwin and her driver Georgia Holt appeared to have won bronze in the B tandem sprint on Friday. They received an apology on Saturday, but no medal.
The scoreboard declared them bronze medallists, but then they were denied podium access, which brought Unwin to tears. According to the rules of the competition, only gold and silver medals are awarded when there are fewer than five participants.
Holding an English flag, they stood behind a fenced area when the medal ceremony began, but were moved by security.
Later, Unwin and Holt found themselves alone on the podium with bronze medals borrowed from English teammates who were supporting them. The action led the UCI on Saturday to fine the two cyclists 200 Swiss francs as well as England team manager Keith Reynolds ($210), the BBC reported.
The Commonwealth Games Federation apologized to the athletes for the distress inadvertently caused by the confusion, but confirmed the decision would protect the integrity of the competition.
In the pool, England’s Ben Proud confirmed his success in the 50m freestyle at the world championships in Budapest in June by winning the race in Birmingham in 22.81 seconds.
South Africa’s Lara van Niekerk, a bronze medalist in Budapest last month, scored her biggest success when she won the 50-metre breaststroke in 29.73 seconds.
Scotland’s Duncan Scott edged his English friend Tom Dean to win the 200-metre freestyle in 1:45.02.
Jessica Stenson of Australia won the women’s marathon, bettering the bronzes she won in 2014 and 2018. She led a breakaway group with silver medalist Margaret Muriuki and 2018 winner Helalia Johannes, but shook off the two rivals in the last five kilometers to win in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 31 seconds.
Victor Kiplangat of Uganda won the men’s marathon in 2:10.55, beating silver medalist Alphonce Felix Simbu of Tanzania in the closing stages to win by over 90 seconds. (AP)
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