Commonwealth Games: Day 3 Wrap

Tasmania's golden girls Georgia Baker and Ariarne Titmus both doubled up with superb performances at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Titmus played a part in the first world record in the pool, anchoring home the 4x200m freestyle relay team two days after leading home an Australian clean sweep in the individual event.
And having helped Australia to victory in the team pursuit, Baker won half of the sprints on offer to add the points race in dominant style.
Having won all three medals in the 200m freestyle, Australia were hot favourites to add the relay and Madison Wilson, Kiah Melverton and Mollie O'Callaghan had them comfortably ahead before handing over to Titmus.
By then, the 21-year-old was only racing against the clock and, having entered the water 1.44 seconds behind China's world record, produced a stunning anchor leg to establish a new benchmark of 7:39.29.
The margin of victory over second-placed Canada was a massive 12.69 seconds with England taking the bronze.
Titmus's performance at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre came just a few hours after another Launceston-born world champion had been equally dominant at the Lee Valley Velodrome.

Baker, 27, took points in seven of the 10 sprints, winning five including the last four. Her total of 55 established a massive 19-point gap over second-placed Eluned King, of Wales, but Baker was swift to share the victory with her Aussie teammates Maeve Plouffe and Chloe Moran.
"This gold is just as much Maeve and Chloe's gold medal as mine, we worked as a team," she said.
"We had a plan, for me and Chloe to get the points and to make sure we were both up there.
"I felt control in the race, it was a bit of a blur, I wanted to execute it for Australia. We had a good race, we were calm, we didn’t feel out of control."
Having finished 21st in the same event at her maiden Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, and twice finishing fifth in team pursuits at Olympic Games, Baker was delighted to break through for her first multi-sport Games titles.
"It means so much to come away with the gold. In 2018, my role was more to help Alex Manly and this year was my time and it was great to do it justice,” she said.
"In 2018 as well, I didn’t get to do the TP so to come out and win gold in that as well is special."

Josh Duffy was unable to add to the medal haul after being involved in a high-profile crash in the men's scratch race.
Having helped win a bronze medal in the team pursuit, the Launceston 22-year-old qualified sixth from his heat despite getting caught up in the seven-person crash in which England's Matt Walls was propelled into the crowd, three riders were hospitalised, two spectators required medical attention and the cycling session ended early.
Duffy did not finish the afternoon session's final which was won by New Zealand's Corbin Strong.

Veteran Tasmanian triathlete Hayden Armstrong has described his pride in helping triple Paralympian Gerrard Gosens finish his illustrious career at the Commonwealth Games.
Armstrong, 43, acted as a sight guide for the 52-year-old Queenslander and the duo finished sixth in a field of nine in the vision-impaired para triathlon at Sutton Park. They completed the 750m swim, 20km ride and 5km run in 1:08:41, 11:02 behind British winner David Ellis and his guide Luke Pollard.
Fellow Aussies Sam Harding and Jonathan Goerlach claimed silver and bronze respectively.
"It was a great experience," Armstrong said.
"Gerrard did an amazing job at 52 years of age. To be his eyes and ears for the race and paint that picture of how things are unfolding and get him through to the finish line and get him to work as hard as I can, it's a proud moment for me to get that done.
"It's an extremely special relationship and I'm extremely honoured and proud to race with Gerrard. To be asked to do this is an absolute privilege and I'll take this to the grave and be a very happy man.
"At 43 and 52 we're the dinosaurs, but we're taking it up to them."
The Hobart father-of-one, who was born in Launceston and attended Riverside Primary, Riverside High and Launceston College before becoming principal director of an insurance brokers, has won more than 20 half-ironman age-group races and half-a-dozen full ironman events with his best age-group finish a third place in the 70.3 World Championships in 2018.
But he said operating as a sight guide was a whole new ball game.
"It's a totally different experience and to be able to give back to the sport and be a part of fulfilling someone else's dreams and accomplish their goals is an absolute honour.
"I'm an angry little man when I'm racing and really do rev him up pretty hard but at the end I just look at him and I'm extremely proud. It's a real challenge and it's been a great learning curve for me. I think I've got to learn to get my left and rights correct because sometimes when I'm under pressure I call the wrong way but Gerrard knows I'm learning as I go."
The pair paid tribute to each other having developed a powerful relationship based on complete trust.
"I'm pleased to see at 52 he's hanging up the boots and passing the baton on because the guy's just an over-achiever," Armstrong said. "He's done way too much but is a credit to our sport and has had a significant amount of people look up to him and the next wave is coming through as we can see from Jono and Sam that have medalled, it's a privilege to be a part of that."
Gosens, who was given a 2:46 handicap start as the only totally blind competitor in the field, responded: "There is no greater teamwork. You talk about teamwork on a football ground or any other sport but this is rather unique teamwork environment because the entire trust is in the athlete whether it's in the open water, on the bike or the run. You can have trust in a large or a small team but there's no other teamwork like being a guide for a person who is totally blind."

Kingston's Erica Burleigh produced Tasmania's second sixth-place finish of the day at Sutton Park in the women's vision-impaired triathlon.
Moments after finishing in 1:26:49, 16:17 behind English winner Katie Crowhurst, the 39-year-old heaped praise on her 19-year-old Queensland guide Felicity Cradick.
"That was really tough, especially the run course. That's probably my slowest leg so I struggled with that but Felicity got me through," she said.
"I don't really like running in the sun and that hill was a bit of a killer. If Felicity wasn't there as my guide I wouldn't have got through.
"I trust Felicity, she's a great rider and guide. I've got to put all my trust in Felicity. I promised her before we started that I would do anything she said, and that's what I did."
Twenty-two years after losing most of her eyesight and nearly her life to meningococcal, the former Channel Christian School student qualified for Birmingham on the back of second-place finishes at the Oceania Triathlon Para Cup in Devonport in February and the Oceania Triathlon Para Championships in Stockton two weeks later.
She said she was still tackling some of the event's unique challenges.
"Communication is the biggest, especially on a tandem bike. The swim I was crashing into her a bit because I couldn't really see anything in the lake. Going round corners our back wheel slid a little bit. But apart from that, it was all good.
"It was awesome. I feel really lucky and privileged to be given this opportunity. I just wanted to go out there and give it my best, which I did. I'm a bit overwhelmed but I feel proud."
Burleigh, who works as a quality and safeguards commissioner with the National Disability Insurance Scheme, said she was yet to decide whether she will attempt to compete at the Paralympics in Paris in 2024.
"We'll see. I need to find another guide that's in Tassie, a bit closer to home, and go from there.
"I'll probably have to sit down and think about it, but probably. I definitely would want to get out there and do it again. I need to do a lot more training. I've only been training for five or six months and I haven't ridden a bike since primary school."

Jake Birtwhistle helped Australia to a bronze medal in the mixed relay team triathlon, completing a perfect set of Commonwealth Games medals with first, second, third and fourth-placed finishes from his four races.
"I've got the full set of colours now," he said. "It's awesome and I couldn't be more proud of the team."
"We were joking about it earlier in the week. We said if we're all together on Friday we need to finish first, second and third and I said 'I'll settle for the bronze because I've already got a gold and silver'. I've got the full set now thanks to the team and I'm really happy with that, it's a good bit of fun.
"We knew we had a solid team here and this was kind of the aim for us and I'm really proud that we were all able to really nail our individual legs and come together as a team and to finish up on the podium is pretty special."
Two days after finishing fourth in the individual triathlon, the Launceston 27-year-old was a surprise choice for the opening leg of the event which saw each team member swim 300m, ride 5km and run 2km.
Sixth after the swim and seventh after the ride, Birtwhistle produced a superb run to hand over to Natalie van Coevorden in third. With England dominating, Australia dropped to as far as 54 seconds off the pace before individual bronze medallist Matt Hauser hauled them back into medal contention and Sophie Linn brought them home behind winners England and three seconds after silver medallist Wales.
"We changed it up a bit," Birtwhistle said. "It's my first time leading, normally I'd be the anchor leg, I felt like we took a bit of a risk with that but I think it paid off.
"Me and Matt are pretty even and we were looking at it that later on in the race we could utilise his swim more than probably my run and I think that's kind of how it panned out. That's what we went for and I guess it paid off and we're happy with that.
"In the relay you're out there representing the others as well so it adds a bit of pressure but also I think it adds a bit of motivation which balances it out in the end."
The former under-23 world champion said the Commonwealth Games will always hold strong memories.
"The Comm Games are always so special. The Olympics and Comm Games are what you dream of when you're a kid growing up in sport.
"For the first time in quite a while I was lining up on Friday with no pressure on myself. I feel like I'd been almost bullying myself to get some good results recently and this time I just decided I was going to take the pressure off and just appreciate the position I'm in to be here competing for Australia at the Games. It's pretty special and I think that kind of helped me. I was able to come out a bit less stressed and able to get a good result. I love the relays, you always seem to find that little something extra no matter how tired you feel beforehand. It's always special to be a part of that team and have some more success in the relay format is really cool."

Eddie Ockenden, Josh Beltz and their teammates made a ruthless start to the defence of the Kookaburras' unblemished Commonwealth Games record with a 12-0 demolition of Scotland in their Pool A opener.
Ockenden captained the side which fired in six goals in each half, Jeremy Hayward claiming four, Tim Brand, Tom Wickham and Nathan Ephraums two each with singles for Blake Govers and Josh Simmonds.
The Kookaburras next take to the field at the University of Birmingham Hockey Centre at 6am (AEST) on Tuesday morning against New Zealand.