Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - Page 19 News List

S Africa claim sevens gold in Glasgow

GOLDEN AUSTRALIANS:In the pool and on bicycles, Australia won the lion’s share of first place finishes, but Kenya dominated in long-distance running events

AFP, GLASGOW, Scotland

South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla dives to score a try against New Zealand during their gold-medal match at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

South Africa ended four-time Commonwealth Games rugby sevens champions New Zealand’s unbeaten 30-match run to take gold on Sunday, while Kenya grabbed two titles on the opening day of the athletics program.

The Springboks clinched a nail-biting 17-12 final victory at a packed Ibrox Stadium thanks to tries from Seabelo Senatla (2) and Cecil Afrika and a conversion by Branco du Preez.

New Zealand, whose winning streak stretched back to a Jonah Lomu-inspired side that won gold in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, scored two tries through Sherwin Stowers and Joe Webber, Gillies Kaka nailing one conversion.

“This feeling is the greatest,” Afrika said. “We as South Africans are so proud. Rugby is our national sport, we always strive to be the best in the world. The Commonwealth Games is a one-off tournament. As a squad we want to take this forward to the Rio Olympics.”

Australia took bronze with a 24-0 win over Samoa.

Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku claimed a flamboyant 5,000m gold, while compatriot Flomena Daniel won the women’s marathon title as athletics got under way without headliners Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.

Ndiku, the world indoor 3,000m champion, made the most of the absence of injury-hit Olympic champion Farah to win the first gold medal on offer at the Hampden Park track.

With his hair dyed gold in expectation of victory, Ndiku triumphed in 13 minutes, 12.07 seconds, with teammate Isiah Koech claiming silver in 13 minutes, 14.06 seconds.

In the women’s marathon, Daniel, the winner in Paris this year, led teammate Caroline Kilel to a convincing Kenya one-two.

Australia’s Michael Shelley prevented a Kenya marathon sweep by producing a stunning final 8km to win gold, with Kenya’s Stephen Chemlany in second and Uganda’s Abraham Kiplimo taking bronze.

In the blue riband 100m, Nickel Ashmeade, part of the gold medal-winning Jamaican 4x100m relay team from the Moscow worlds last year, clocked 10.4 seconds to win his heat.

The weight of the Caribbean island’s expectations are resting squarely on Ashmeade’s shoulders in the absence of Bolt, who is to compete solely in the relay in Glasgow after an injury-plagued season.

Adam Gemili of England timed an impressive 10.15 seconds, the fastest qualifying time.

In the women’s 100m heats, Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown looked slick in winning in 11.29 seconds and she is to be joined in the semi-finals by teammates Schillonie Calvert, who clocked the same time in nailing her heat, and Olympic silver medalist Kerron Stewart (11.35 seconds).

Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare headed the qualifying times with 11.2 seconds.

In the pool, world 100m freestyle champion James Magnussen added the Commonwealth Games title to his collection as Australia claimed four more gold medals.

It was also another successful night for England as Siobhan O’Connor and Fran Halsall secured gold in the 200m individual medley and 50m butterfly respectively.

Magnussen edged fellow Australian Cameron McEvoy in a highly anticipated clash, although the winning time of 48.11 seconds did not live up to expectations.

There was more gold and silver for Australia as Belinda Hocking held off teammate Emily Seebohm to win the women’s 200m backstroke.

Ben Treffers and Mitch Larkin led home a third Australia one-two in the men’s 50m backstroke, ahead of defending champion Liam Tancock of England in third.

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