Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Commonwealth Games: Wendy Houvenaghel happy in pursuit of gold

Wendy Houvenaghel powers her way around the cycle track in Delhi

There were mixed fortunes for Northern Ireland’s athletes on the second day of competition in Delhi.

Olympic silver medalist Wendy Houvenaghel made her first appearance on the track as she used the 500m-time trial as a dress rehearsal for the main business of the 3,000m individual pursuit on Friday when it will be hugely disappointing if she doesn’t win a medal.

The Upperlands rider by no means disgraced herself finishing ninth with Heather Wilson in 12th.

“This was all about getting used to the track and the facilities and from that point of view everything went very well. My training has been very good and I’m looking forward to Friday,” said Houvenaghel afterwards.

Also on the track Sports Institute of Northern Ireland cyclist Martyn Irvine took a very good sixth place in the 4,000m individual pursuit while Philip Lavery was 10th and Adam Armstrong 13th in the men’s 1km time trial and Lavery then went on to qualify for the points race final.

The boxing got under way in front of large and vociferous crowds at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium.

Lightweight Mark O'Hara from the Holy Trinity club was the first of the team of nine in action and he beat Mikka Shonena of Namibia (6-3).

After the fight he said, “The first one is always tough and it was good to get it out of the way against a tough opponent. We've got a great team here and I don't see any reason why I can't go a long way in this competition.”

There was no such luck for Steven Donnelly at light-welterweight who failed to land a scoring punch on Australian Luke Woods, losing 10-0.

Team captain Eamonn O'Kane was the final local fighter in the ring on the first day of competition and he put up a good display to beat Sri Lanka’s Ranil Jayathilakage 5-0.

“I fight a New Zealander next and it will take a better performance than that to beat him,” said O'Kane.

Later today Paddy Gallagher faces Joseph Mulema of Cameroon at welterweight.

Madeline Perry is one match away from guaranteeing herself a shot at a medal in the squash competition.

She takes on tough Aussie Kasey Brown in the quarter-finals.

That’s the stage she reached four years ago in Melbourne but since then she has progressed up the world rankings and is now seeded fourth and looked impressive in beating another Australian, Lisa Camilleri, in straight sets yesterday 11-4, 11-5, 11-5.

“I was pleased with my performance, I was moving well and hitting the ball well and I’m looking forward to the next round,” said Perry.

Brown recently beat Perry in the World Open in Egypt but the Banbridge women is determined to make sure that result doesn’t repeat itself.

She added, “I was actually pleased with the draw when I found out I could meet her again. I didn’t think I played very well against her in Egypt so I’m looking for a bit of revenge because I’ve beaten her in the past.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure. Seeded fourth I’m expected to play off for a medal so I’ll be able to cope just fine.”

A win would set up a potential semi-final against world number one Nicole David of Malaysia.

Charlotte McKenna (45.650) and Seriena Johnrose were the last qualifiers for the women’s gymnastics All Round Final finishing with 45.500 and 45.150 respectively. Seriena has also made the vault final.

In the badminton mixed team event, Northern Ireland defeated Jamaica 4-1 but then suffered a 5-0 defeat to South Africa.

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