Disappointing triathlon results for New Zealand

16:50, Jul 24 2014
Andrea Hewitt and Nicky Samuels
Andrea Hewitt (left) and Nicky Samuels make their way through the transition zone during the women's triathlon.
Andrea Hewitt
Andrea Hewitt (nearest camera) leaps off the starting block with the rest of the women's triathlon field.
Andrea Hewitt
Andrea Hewitt in action during the swim stage of the women's triathlon.
Eddie Dawkins
Eddie Dawkins was the second-fastest during men's sprint qualifying and later advanced to the quarterfinals.
Darnica Manuel
New Zealand's Darnica Manuel (in white) in action against Scotland's Stephanie Inglis in the women's 57kg judo division.
Chanel Kavanagh
New Zealand's Chanel Kavanagh (in white) gets the better of Barbados' Onoh-Obasi Okey in the women's 48kg judo quarterfinals.
Sam Webster
Sam Webster was impressive in beating Scotland's Callum Skinner in the men's sprint first round.
Eddie Dawkins
Eddie Dawkins stormed into the men's sprint quarters, beating Olympic gold medalist Jason Kenny.
NZ pursuit team
The NZ pursuit team in action in qualifying at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome.
Kate Jenner
Australia's Kate Jenner (right) effectively tackles Malaysia's Rabiatul Mohamed during their group match.
Women's lawn bowls
Canadian and English lawn bowlers study the head during their women's fours action.
Michelle Chan
Kiwi Michelle Chan in action during women's badminton singles against Geurnsey's Elena Johnson.
The Queen
Queen Elizabeth II, with Prince Philip sitting to her right, shares a laugh with spectators during the England women's hockey match against Wales.
NZ sprint team
The New Zealand men's sprint team of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins set a new Commonwealth Games record in qualifying and then again in the gold medal ride to beat England.
Lauren Boyle gallery
Kiwi swimmer Lauren Boyle on her way to finishing fourth in the women's 200m freestyle final.
Lauren Boyle
Kiwi swimmer Lauren Boyle after finishing fourth in the women's 200m freestyle final on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games.
Samantha Lucie-Smith
Samantha Lucie-Smith after swimming for New Zealand in the women's 4 x 100m freestyle relay final.
Sprint team gallery
Sam Webster, Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins celebrate winning gold in the final of the men's team sprint race in Glasgow.
Pursuit team
Marc Ryan, Pieter Bulling, Dylan Kennett and Shane Archbold celebrate after taking the bronze medal in the final of the men's 4000m team pursuit.
Amelia Coleman
New Zealand's Amelia Coleman in action with the ribbon during the rhythmic gymnastics competition.
Nick Haig
Nick Haig (left) celebrates Phil Burrows' goal in the Black Sticks' 3-1 victory over Canada in Group B.

Change could be in the air as New Zealand's triathletes look to bounce back from a disappointing opening day at the Commonwealth Games.

Kate McIlroy, originally named in the mixed team relay, is in line to be dropped in favour of the in-form Nicky Samuels for tomorrow's relay, which now looms as make-or-break if New Zealand's triathletes want to avoid a Games failure.

Andrea Hewitt ran a brave race but finished fourth in the women's individual event - Samuels was 10th and McIlroy a distant 12th - while the Kiwi men's trio were outgunned along with everyone else as England's Brownlee brothers swept to a quinella at heat-struck Strathclyde Country Park in Motherwell, about 25km south-east of Glasgow.

Andrea Hewitt
OUTSIDE THE PODIUM: Andrea Hewitt had to settle for fourth in the women's triathlon at Strathclyde Country Park, finishing 14 seconds off third.

Hopes were high that New Zealand's top female triathletes could start the 20th Commonwealth Games with a bang but the big guns - England and Canada - spoilt that romantic notion.

Christchurch's Hewitt and Wanaka's Samuels didn't have the firepower on the run leg and were forced to settle for the minor places on a hilly course that was expected to suit them.

England's world No 2 Jodie Stimpson won gold, with Canada's Kirsten Sweetland second and England's Vicky Holland third. Hewitt was some 14sec behind Holland.

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"I did my best," said Hewitt, who had mixed feelings. "I wanted a podium so fourth isn't a great result. I gave it everything. I couldn't have done any better."

Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee won the men's race from brother Jonathan while South African Richard Murray was third.

Tony Dodds was the best of the Kiwis in 10th, while Ryan Sissons 13th and Tom Davison had a day to forget and did not finish.

Davison was kicked in the stomach during the swim and was under water for about 30sec. He emerged to ride what was, in the circumstances, a sensational bike leg as he tried to help his team-mates, then retired at the end of the bike with the race gone.

The men were not expected to contend for the medals but they were well and truly outgunned and rightly disappointed.

Both Dodds and Sissons said they simply had "off-days".

"When you have a bad day, you have a bad day," Dodds said. "These guys are all world class and if you don't have the legs, it's all over."

In the women's race, both Hewitt and Samuels were poised in the lead group coming off the bike but Samuels quickly fell off the pace and it was left to Hewitt to fly the Kiwi flag.

The 32-year-old looked gone for all money midway through the final leg. She fell 30m off the pace as the big nations flexed their muscles, but dragged herself back to the bunch through sheer determination and gave herself a fighting chance.

But with about 3km remaining, the three eventual medallists made their move and Hewitt could not respond.

McIlroy really struggled on the back half of the swim and emerged from the loch 50sec back from the lead and her goose was cooked, a disappointing outcome for the injury-plagued Wellingtonian.

McIlroy was slated to compete in the mixed team relay tomorrow but this result raises the real possibility of her being replaced by Samuels.

A decision on the makeup of the four-person team is expected tonight (Friday night NZT).

Samuels was adamant she should be included.

"Definitely I think that I'm the stronger pick. I've done everything I can up to this point."

England, led by the Brownlee brothers and Stimpson, are raging hot favourites for gold but New Zealand, second at last year's world championship, need a podium finish to escape the pleasant surrounds of Strathclyde Country Park with their reputations in tact.

They expressed confidence in their ability to do so despite their struggles today, saying they were a tight-knit team that would rise for each other. 

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