Triple gold medalist Ellesse Andrews makes history as our women on wheels again steal the show in Birmingham on Day 4; LockerRoom updates you on the performances of our Kiwi wāhine.
Performances of the day
Cool, calm and collected, Ellesse Andrews has become only the second Kiwi woman in Commonwealth Games history to win three gold medals in one Games. She stole her final gold in the early hours of this morning in the keirin – the event that propelled her to stardom at last year’s Olympics.
Add that to brace of golds she won earlier this week – in the individual and team sprint (don’t mention the silver medal she wasn’t given for her cameo role in the team pursuit) – and 22-year-old Andrews joins Dame Yvette Williams in New Zealand’s sporting annals. Williams won her triple gold in athletics at the 1954 Games in Vancouver.
“It’s always a hope and a dream [to clean up on the track] but one that I never would have really believed until it happened,” Andrews told Sky Sport. “You want to strive for that, but honestly you never know.
“I’m just here to do my thing. I like riding my bike, I like riding it fast. It’s the whole experience that drives me, it’s not always the result at the end of it. That’s the icing on the cake, that’s the bonus.”
Andrews had no trouble making the final of the keirin (she won silver in the event at the Tokyo Olympics), and zoomed to the front with two laps to go. She could hear English rider Sophie Capwell closing in on her, but held her out on the line by 0.05s.
As a stunned Andrews tried to wrap her head around the historic moment, fellow Kiwi Aaron Gate matched her – winning his third gold of these Games in a Kiwi one-two in the points race, with Campbell Stewart collecting silver.
Also at the track, Michaela Drummond won her second silver of these Games in an action-packed 10km scratch race. The race had to be restarted halfway through when a major crash took out Drummond’s team-mate, points race gold medalist Bryony Botha. The third member of their silver medal-winning team pursuit, Emily Shearman, launched a couple of attacks, but it was Drummond who jumped on the wheel of England’s Laura Kenny on the last lap and chased her to the finish line.
“It’s been 12 months of a lot of lows,” said Drummond, a professional road rider, who lost her grandfather a fortnight ago. “I feel like it’s finally become my time to get a result, so I’m really, really proud.”
That takes New Zealand’s cycling medal haul from the velodrome to an astounding 13 medals, including a record eight golds (we won a total of 15 medals in Glasgow in 2014), with mountain biking and road cycling yet to come.
Joelle King survived an incredible see-sawing battle with England’s Lucy Turmel to make tomorrow morning’s squash semifinals, winning 3-1, but it was much closer than the score suggested. It was 29 degrees Celcius inside the stadium, and King had to swap singlets after the mammoth second game, which lasted almost 30 minutes.
King was up 10-3 and had several chances to clinch it, but Turmel continued to fight back and won 16-8. The Kiwi had plenty to say to the umpire, and had to be her own hype woman, yelling when winning a point, with the noisy Birmingham crowd firmly behind the home athlete. After winning the final game, 14-12, King sat back, found her support system in the crowd, grinned and wiped her brow in relief – the perfect summary of an almost 90-minute marathon.
Quote of the day
“I have so many other things I love to do beside cycling, so I think for it’s really important to have all those things and being well-rounded,” triple gold medalist (and singer, musician, dancer, psychology student) Ellesse Andrews.
The good news
The Silver Ferns have erased all memories of their 2018 Commonwealth Games defeat to Malawi, with a 69-50 win in their third match of pool play. It was a tight first half, but the Ferns were dominant in the second – Kelly Jury and New Zealand’s zone defense disrupting Malawi’s attack and forcing changes. Grace Nweke was a standout for the Ferns, shooting 52 from 55 (95 percent).
The Ferns face Trinidad and Tobago tomorrow before their biggest challenge – England on Friday morning. For context, the reigning Games champions beat Malawi by 25 goals earlier this week.
Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann guaranteed themselves a spot in the beach volleyball quarterfinals, with a convincing two-set victory over the Ghana pair, 21-10, 21-13 – their second win on the makeshift beach in Birmingham. The Kiwis, looking strong on both attack and defence, have another pool match against the unbeaten Canada before progressing to the next round.
Although Helena Gasson finished seventh in the splash-and-dash 50m butterfly final, she set a New Zealand record with her time of 26.24s.
The not so good news
The 3×3 Tall Ferns went down 16-11 to Canada in the semifinal – their first loss of the tournament – and will face Australia in the bronze medal match at 3.30am tomorrow. The Kiwis were only down by two, 13-11, with one minute left on the clock, but a few too many fouls from the Tall Ferns gave Canada some easy chances, which they capitalized on.
Also playing for bronze tonight will be the lawn bowls women’s four. Struggling to adapt to a slower bowling green, the New Zealanders lost their semifinal on the last end to an emotional India, now guaranteed their first bowls medal in Commonwealth Games history.
With five-time Games veteran Val Smith anchoring the team, the New Zealanders had a 6-1 lead, before India fought back. New Zealand had a one-point advantage going into the 14th end, but a stunning penultimate bowl from Indian captain Rupa Rani Tirkey knocked out the Kiwis’ closest bowl, securing victory.
Two of our female weightlifters finished just outside the medals. At her first games, hurdler turned lifter Emma McIntyre was fifth in the 64kg division – after lifting 84kg in the snatch and 103kg in the clean and jerk (for a total of 187kg). Olympic champion Maude Charron of Canada set a new Games record of 224kg for gold. But McIntyre, just over Covid, was “absolutely stoked” with her performance.
Megan Signal finally got on to the weightlifting platform – after injury kept her away from the Gold Coast in 2018 and last year’s Tokyo Olympics. She snatched 88kg on her second attempt, and 108kg in her first lift in the clean and jerk, finishing in sixth on 196kg (English
Quona Christie has bowed out of the Games after losing her first bout in the 57kg judo competition, to Christianne Lengentil of Mauritius, and then losing in the repechage round to Malin Wilson of Scotland.
The Sandwell Aquatics Pool has uncovered a new teenage sporting phenom – 15-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh. Still too young to drive, McIntosh now has two Commonwealth Games gold medals in the 200m and 400m individual medleys. After winning the 400m IM earlier this week by more than 7s – in the third-fastest time ever – McIntosh was being hailed as a “generational talent”. She followed it up today with the 200m IM gold in junior world record time. Definitely one to watch in Paris 2024.
Black Sticks co-captain Megan Hull is handy with a cricket bat too.
And howzat? The Black Sticks out to impress the White Ferns while waiting for their next match against world No.3 Australia tomorrow.
“Athletics start!” says an excited LockerRoom writer and Olympic heptathlete Sarah Cowley Ross. “Sprinting star Zoe Hobbs, fresh off an outstanding semifinal performance at the world championships in Oregon, will look to get through the heats aiming for a spot in the 100m final. Our pole vaulters, Olivia McTaggart and Imogen Ayris, are after early clearances to progress in their competition.
“Te Pou Hapai Wāhine of the NZ Team, Joelle King moves into the business end of the squash singles with her semifinal against Hollie Naughton of Canada. Look to King to use her experience to progress to the gold medal match and defend her 2018 title. “
Who’s up next
TUESDAY AUGUST 2
LAWN BOWLS:New Zealand v Fiji, women’s fours bronze medal play-off, 10.45pm; NZ v India (pairs and triples), 7.30pm
HOCKEY:Black Sticks vs Australia, 8pm
COUNTRY:Maddi Wesche (shot put qualifying), 10pm; Zoe Hobbs (100m qualifying), 11.15pm
SWIMMING:Hazel Vanessa Ouwehand, 50m backstroke, 10.05pm (potential semi 7.30am Wed)
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 3
SQUASH:Joelle King (semifinals), 3am
BASKETBALL:3×3 Tall Ferns, bronze medal match, 3.30am
CRICKET:White Ferns vs Sri Lanka, 5am
WEIGHT LIFTING:Hayley Whiting (87kg), 5.30am
BOXING:Erin Walsh (57kg), 5.45am
COUNTRY:Olivia McTaggart, Imogen Ayris (pole vault final), 6.05am
NETBALL:Silver Ferns vs Trinidad and Tobago, 7am
SWIMMING:Eve Thomas, 800m freestyle final, 8.15am