Commonwealth Games medals keep coming
It was another golden day for the Kiwis at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow today as their medal tally ticked over the 30 mark.
North Canterbury mountain biker Anton Cooper claimed gold in the men's cross-country while New Zealand signed off on a middling campaign at the pool with double gold - to Lauren Boyle in the women's 800m freestyle and Sophie Pascoe in the SM10 200m individual medley para-swimming event.
Hamilton teen David Nyika was also in the medals hunt having secured at least a bronze in boxing having made the semifinals.
Te Awamutu's Sam Gaze made it a Kiwi 1-2 at the mountainbiking with a silver; edging the total medal count up to 31 with five days to go.
New Zealand tallied 36 at Delhi four years ago.
Cooper, 19, joined the New Zealand sprint team, sprinter Sam Webster, points race winner Tom Scully and scratch race victor Shane Archbold as cycling gold medallists while 18-year-old Gaze's silver took New Zealand's wider bike team's haul to 13 medals.
Cooper and Gaze took on the event's raging hot favourite, Australian world No 3 Dan McConnell, and won.
Cooper, Gaze, McConnell and Canada's Max Plaxton broke away and led for most of the seven lap race at Glasgow's Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails.
Plaxton was ditched early on the final lap and even then most assumed McConnell would be good for the gold and the Kiwis competing for Silver. But no-one told Cooper.
With 500m to go he put the foot down, somehow finding a reserve of energy not already used in the 90-minute slog.
In an instant he was 20m ahead. Gaze and McConnell tried to keep up, but Cooper was gone and gold bound. Gaze pulled away and McConnell had nothing left so cruised to the bronze medal.
"I don't really know what to think, I'm just bloody stoked," Cooper said.
"It's a dream come true."
Being able to beat his good mate McConnell was also a big deal for Cooper, though it arguably meant more to Gaze.
"[McConnell's] top three in the world for elite men and it's amazing to beat him," Gaze said.
"I'm 18, he's 19 and we beat one of the best guys in the world. It shows what team-work and pride does."
Earlier Karen Hanlen and Kate Fluker both recorded top 10s in the 32km women's race. Hanlen, who only nine weeks ago had surgery to repair her femoral artery, finished sixth while an overwhelmed Fluker was eighth. Both had minor crashes.
Today was the last day of the pool programme at the Games and Pascoe and Boyle wanted to finish in style. They did, each winning gold to double the swim team's medal haul, finishing with four.
The previous day, Boyle earned silver in a gruelling 800m final behind Wales' Jazmin Carlin. But this time she turned the tables, triumphing over her rival in a time of 4:04.47s.
Boyle's margin of victory - in a Games record time - was 0.69 seconds over Carlin, with Australia's Bronte Barratt third in 4:06.02.
There was little time for celebration for Boyle though, who after receiving her gold medal told media she'd be up tomorrow morning for training at 6am.
Pascoe, who won the 100m breaststroke SB9 gold two days ago, recorded a time of 2:27.74 to be over four seconds ahead of silver medallist Katherine Downie of Australia in the 200m individual medley SM10.
The NZ men's 4x100m medley relay team of Corey Main, Glenn Snyders, Steve Kent and Matthew Stanley finished fifth in the last final of the meet.
Main and Snyders had the team in third place after the first two legs behind eventual winners England and silver medallists Australia, but the Kiwis couldn't hold out South Africa and Canada.
New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin missed a medal today, finishing fifth in the women's 1500m final.
In the final race of a chilly night, before a packed house at Hampden Park, Kenya's Faith Kibiegon streaked away to win in a time of 4:08.94sec. England's Laura Weightman was second and Canada's Kate van Buskirk third. Hamblin clocked 4:10.77 in a slowly run race.
Delhi silver medallist Brent Newdick provided the big disappointment at the track today as he pulled out of the decathlon after seven events.
The five-time national champion injured his right foot during take-off in the high jump on day one and soldiered on, before calling it quits after the discus today. Compatriot Scott McLaren hoped to defy an ongoing heel problem, but struggled throughout, and withdrew on day one before the 400m.
125kg wrestler Marcus Carney won his first match to progress to the semifinals today, but he lost two on the bounce, including the bronze medal playoff to Nigerian Sinivie Boltic, who beat the Kiwi in just 29 seconds.
A late goal from Simon Child snared New Zealand a crucial 2-1 win over England and meant they would likely avoid the powerful Australians in the men's hockey semifinals.
The winning goal came when Child smashed home a reverse stick shot after a penalty corner with three minutes remaining at the Glasgow National Hockey centre.
The victory left them unbeaten from three matches and meant England would likely finish second and face the gold medal favourites Australia in the semis.
New Zealand just need to beat Malaysia in their final group game on Thursday to stay on top, and probably face India in the semis for the right to play for gold.
An injury-hit Silver Ferns racked up the biggest scoreline of the Games, beating St Lucia 88-19.
Liana Leota, the shortest player in the New Zealand team by 5cm, started the game at goal attack to help bolster a broken shooting circle which included Maria Tutaia (foot strain), Cathrine Latu (calf strain) and Ellen Halpenny (ankle sprain).
Men's singles exponent Shannon McIlroy began his day with an early 21-13 win over his Papua New Guinea opponent and then made short work of his next challenge from Malta 21-2 to improve his record to 4-0.
The women's triples team of Selina Goddard, Amy McIlroy and skip Mandy Boyd saw off Zambia 22-10 and Fiji 21-11, but the men's fours team was upset 16-12 by PNG after giving up eight shots on the first two ends.
Gold medal winner in the singles Jo Edwards has teamed up with her best friend Val Smith in the women's pairs and the experienced duo had to come back from an early 6-0 deficit to beat India 24 11, while the para-bowls open triples B6/B7/B8 team of Lynda Bennett, Barry Wynks and Mark Noble registered a 10-10 draw with South Africa.
Hamilton teenager David Nyika has ensured New Zealand will win their first Commonwealth Games boxing medal since 2002 after coming from behind in his quarterfinal this morning to beat the highest ranked boxer in the men's light heavyweight section, Indian Sumit Sangwan.
Even if Nyika, 18, lost his quarterfinal against Northern Ireland's Sean McGilnchy, boxing award bronze medals to both losing semifinalsts so he would match at least the efforts of Danny Codling and Shane Cameron in Manchester 12 years ago.
Kiwi hope Alexis Pritchard felt she had missed an opportunity for herself and women's boxing in New Zealand after she suffered a surprise first round loss today.
Dominican Valerian Spicer beat Pritchard by unanimous decision in their lightweight bout, shattering the Aucklander's hopes of a medal.
"I've kind of blown it, to be honest. I don't think this is going to feel any better tomorrow, I've missed a really big opportunity for myself and for women's boxing in New Zealand, so I'm sorry."
Chad Milnes and Leroy Hindley also lost in quarterfinal action today.
Jenna MacKenzie snuck into the final of the women's three position 50m rifle event today, qualifying in eighth and last position, and finished seventh in the final which was won by Singapore's Jasmine Ser.
Sally Johnston, gold medallist in the 50m rifle prone yesterday, struggled in the three position event - which involved shooting in kneeling, standing and prone positions - and finished 19th in qualifying.
Myles Browne-Cole finished 18th in the men's trap while John Snowden was 18th and Mike Collings 20th in the final of the individual fullbore rifle event.
Competing in the women's 75kg competition at the Clyde Auditorium, Christchurch-based personal trainer Bailey Rogers was disappointed with her seventh placing after finishing well below her personal bests.
It was a good day for the New Zealand men's and women's singles table tennis players.
Annie Yang had convincing wins in the women's singles, beating Northern Ireland's Emma Ludlow 4-2 and Sierra Leone's Stella Grant in a 4-0 shutout.
Tengteng Liu beat Papua New Guinea's Gasika Simoi Sept 4-nil and Maldives player Mohamed Naseem 4-nil, while Phillip Xiao had a 4-0 win over Zambia's Noel Kasanda and beat Uganda's Kevin Evans Mafabi 4-2.
John Cordue lost his match to Sri Lanka's Dinesh Deshappriya 4-1, but beat Guyana's Idi Lewis 4-1.
New Zealand's top men's singles player, Joe Wu, suffered a tough loss as the individual badminton events began.
Wu went down 23-21 21-17 to Sri Lanka's Buwaneka Dullewa while fellow Kiwi men's singles exponent Michael Fowke had a convincing two-sets win against his Maldives opponent and mixed doubles combination Kevin Dennerly-Minturn and Madeleine Stapleton romped to a 2-0 win over the Falkland Islands.
The top mixed doubles duo of siblings Oliver and Susannah Leydon-Davis fought back from a set down to beat Wales 16-21 21-13 21-10.
The second string NZ women's combo of Megan Craig and Kylie Lindsay almost pulled off a massive upset when the doubles squash tournament began today.
They took the first set off Malaysia's Nicol David - the world champ and women's singles gold medallist - and Low Wee Wern 11-7 before losing the next two 10-11 6-11.
The silver medallists from 2010 in the mixed doubles, Martin Knight and Joelle King, had a first-up walkover win against Jersey while the top men's doubles duo of Martin Knight and Campbell Grayson also had a walkover win against Sierra Leone.
Knight and Grayson then beat Bermuda 2-0 to top their qualifying pool.
Paul Coll and Amanda Landers-Murphy opened their section in the mixed with an 11-2 11-4 win over PNG while Coll teamed up with Lance Beddoes to score a win and a loss as NZ's No 2 men's doubles team.
The top women's doubles team and sixth seeds King and Landers-Murphy opened with a 2-0 victory over PNG.
New Zealand will have three male and two female gymnasts competing in the individual all-around finals at the Commonwealth Games tomorrow.
David Bishop (11th), Kristofer Done (12th) and Misha Koudinov (17th) all made the top-24 cut for the all-around final, while Charlotte Sullivan (9th) and Brittany Robertson (13th) will feature in the women's final.
They were the best-placed Kiwis after the teams event and individual qualifying during the past two days, which saw the New Zealand men's team finish sixth and the injury-ravaged women's team finish 12th.
After the all-around, there are two days of apparatus finals for the top-eight in each discipline.
They will feature just the three Kiwis - Bishop in the men's floor (he is also a reserve for the vault), Matthew Palmer in the men's rings, and Sullivan in the women's floor.
KIWI MEDAL WINNERS
GOLD - 11
Sam Webster (individual sprint), men's team sprint - Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell, Tom Scully (men's 40km points race), Shane Archbold (men's 20km scratch race), Jo Edwards (women's singles bowls), Sally Johnston (women's 50m prone rifle), Richie Patterson (men's 85kg weightlifting), Sophie Pascoe (women's para-swimming 100m breaststroke SB9), Anton Cooper (mountain biking), Lauren Boyle (women's 400m freestyle), Sophie Pascoe (women's para-swimming 200m medley S10)
SILVER - 9
Tom Walsh (shot put), Julia Ratcliffe (hammer throw), Sam Webster (Keirin, cycling), Simon van Velthooven (1km time trial), Adrian Leat (men's 73kg judo), Moira de Villiers (women's 70kg judo), men's rugby sevens team, Lauren Boyle (women's 800m freestyle), Sam Gaze (mountain biking)
BRONZE - 11
Zane Robertson (5000m), Eddie Dawkins (individual sprint), Aaron Gate (men's 40km points race), men's team pursuit cycling - Marc Ryan, Pieter Bulling, Dylan Kennett, Shane Archbold, Marc Ryan (men's individual pursuit), Matthew Archibald (1km time trial), Jason Koster (men's 100kg judo), Tim Slyfield (men's 100kg judo), Darcina Manuel (women's 57kg judo), women's fours bowls - Selina Goddard, Amy McIlroy, Mandy Boyd, Val Smith, Joelle King (women's singles squash)