NZ irresistible in Commonwealth Games start
STUFF REPORTERS IN GLASGOW
New Zealand's track cyclists led the way on the opening day of competition at the Commonwealth Games with the world champion men's team sprint proving irresistible in their gold medal ride.
The trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins twice broke the Commonwealth Games record and smashed England in the final to add another gold medal to their growing collection.
Theirs was New Zealand's first Glasgow gold and the second Kiwi medal after the team pursuit of Dylan Kennett, Pieter Bulling, Marc Ryan and Shane Archbold humbled Canada in their bronze medal ride-off.
New Zealand's third medal went to little known judoka Darcina Manuel, a 21-year-old from Gisborne, but now based in Perth.
Manuel lost her opening bout in the under-57kg class, but went through the repecharge before winning New Zealand's first individual medal of the event by forcing a Canadian former cadet world champion to submit.
Team-mate Chanel Kavanagh finished seventh in the women's under-48kg event.
The track cyclists' two medals on the opening day came in vastly different circumstances.
While the team sprinters were rapt to twice break the Commonwealth Games record on the way to a gold medal in the final against England, the team pursuiters had to settle for bronze after struggling in qualifying.
The sprinters, who would back up tonight with Dawkins, Webster and Matt Archibald all through to the quarterfinals of the individual sprint, were in dominant form throughout, while the team pursuit squad lost riders at unfortunate times and missed out on the gold medal final to England and Australia.
Taking on Canada in the ride for bronze, a fired-up New Zealand team had caught their opposition by the halfway point in the race.
The unheralded Steph McKenzie also impressed on day one, claiming fourth place with a personal best by half a second in the women's 500m time trial.
WITH TOGS ON
Lauren Boyle was the best of the New Zealanders in the pool today and Andrea Hewitt faded during the run leg for fourth place in the triathlon as Glasgow basked in its moment in the spotlight and glorious sunshine.
If it hadn't been for Manuel, it would have been a day of nearlys for Kiwi women in Glasgow. McKenzie's huge PB nearly got her a medal, Hewitt had looked handy at times towards the end of the women's triathlon and spent most of the race in the lead group, only to slip at the end into fourth while Boyle just lacked a sprinter's pace and will be looking forward to her favoured 400m and 800m races.
The North Shore swimmer was close to the personal best and national record mark she set in her heats when she qualified third, but couldn't quite get past Australia's Emma McKeon (gold), England's Siobhan O'Connor (silver) and Australia's Bronte Barratt (bronze).
Corey Main qualified fifth in the men's 100m backstroke semifinals in a PB and would contest the final tomorrow.
However, Glenn Snyders and Matthew Stanley missed out on making the finals in the 200m breaststroke and 400m freestyle respectively.
Hewitt was fourth in the women's individual race on a podium-less day for New Zealand's top triathletes.
Hewitt missed the medals after fading on the run leg, while Nicky Samuels was 10th and Kate McIlroy a distant 12th as England's world No 2 Jodie Stimpson claimed the gold.
Tony Dodds was the best of the Kiwi men, finishing 10th, while Ryan Sissons was 13th as England's Brownlee brothers claimed the spoils. Alistair won gold, backing up from his London Olympics win, while Jonathan took silver and South African Richard Murray was third.
Double Delhi medallist Joelle King barely raised a sweat in the heat of the Scottish summer when she won her opening round squash match in the women's singles.
The Cambridge-based world No 3 hammered Jersey's Sarah Taylor 11-2 11-3 11-2 to make the last 16.
The NZ men's contingent made a pleasing start to the singles, with Martin Knight, Campbell Grayson and Paul Coll all scoring straight sets victories to advance to the round of 32. Coll was knocked out in the next round, but Knight and Grayson score their second wins of the day to push on to the last 16.
A 5-0 clean sweep for New Zealand over Guernsey was the ideal way for the team to start their mixed team badminton programme.
Siblings Oliver and Susannah Leydon-Davis opened the NZ team's account in the mixed doubles discipline with a 2-0 victory to set the tone as the Kiwis didn't drop a set over all five matches.
The Kiwis then repeated the dose with a 5-0 trouncing of The Seychelles.
ON THE GREENS
It was a good day on the greens too for the Kiwi bowlers.
The NZ men's triples team of Ali Forsyth, Shannon McIlroy and Tony Grantham started their Games campaign with a 16-13 win over Guernsey.
They were much more convincing in their second match, romping to a 29-6 win over the Norfolk Islands.
The men's pair of Richard Girvan and Blake Signal also opened with a win, 14-11 over Niue and then came from 6-4 down to score an encouraging 16-8 win over South Africa in their second appearance.
Jo Edwards began her quest for the women's singles gold with a 21-10 victory over her Indian rival, with the para-bowls B2/B3 mixed pair had a win and a loss.
The New Zealand women's table tennis team had a pair of wins in very different circumstances.
The Kiwis crushed Vanuatu 3-0 in their early game before narrowly slipping past Wales 3-2.
Elder statewoman Li Chunli, now 52, won both her singles matches, 3-1 and 3-0, while sister Karen Li cruised to 3-0 victory.
The men's team beat Kenya 3-0 and were still to play Wales.
New Zealand's rhythmic gymnasts Kelly MacDonald and Amelia Coleman were well off the pace on the opening day. After two disciplines, MacDonald was in 23rd on 21.975 points, only a whisker ahead of Coleman in 24th on 21.750. Coleman finished the better and ended the event in 23rd while MacDonald was 26th.
Kiwi weightlifter Lou Guinares was second after the B-group finished lifting. His 206kgs total (90kg snatch and 116kg clean and jerk) was well short of his entry total of 221kg.
The A-group in Guinares' 56kg men's section didn't do as well as expected and Guinares was left a credible seventh.
The Black Sticks hockey team took a while to put Canada away, but started their campaign with a 3-1 win.