Belfast Telegraph

Commonwealth Games: O'Connor's first gold takes it to a high five haul

And 13-year-old Scot Davies secures a bronze

By Gavin McCafferty

England's Siobhan-Marie O'Connor and Fran Halsall added to their impressive Commonwealth Games medal hauls with golds on another memorable night of action in the Tollcross pool.

O'Connor claimed her fifth medal of the Games – and her first gold – by storming home in the 200 metres individual medley and Halsall later set a new Games record as she took gold in the 50m butterfly final.

Scotland were also savouring success as 13-year-old Erraid Davies and her hero, Hannah Miley, both claimed bronze.

Davies, Scotland's youngest-ever Commonwealth Games competitor, was roared into the medal positions in the para-sport 100m breaststroke SB9 final and Miley finished behind O'Connor to add the bronze to her gold in the 400m individual medley.

And the host nation almost saved the best until last when their men's 4x200m freestyle relay team pushed hot favourites Australia all the way before claiming a silver amid deafening cheers.

England also had a bronze to celebrate as world-record holder Liam Tancock finished behind Australian pair Ben Treffers and Mitch Larkin in the 50m backstroke.

Davies claimed the first home medal of the night and O'Connor soon took gold to add to the three silvers and bronze she had already won at Glasgow 2014.

The 18-year-old finished more than two seconds ahead of Olympic runner-up Alicia Coutts of Australia to set a Games record of 2:08.21.

"I wasn't sure I had it in me but I'm absolutely over the moon so that was a dream," she said. "Sport is so full of ups and downs.

"This is definitely what I do it for. It's all about making the sacrifices and I have made a lot to be here. But it's worth it – such an incredible feeling."

Miley surprised herself by taking bronze ahead of England's Aimee Willmott.

"It's been an amazing meet and I don't really know where that performance came from," she said. "I really thought I'd be outside the medals in fourth or fifth so to go one better than that and come away with some hardware is pretty special."

Halsall's victory was her third gold of a total of 10 Commonwealth medals.

The Southport-born 24-year-old, who earlier qualified for the 100m freestyle final, said: "I remember being in Melbourne (in 2006) and swimming the 100m freestyle final and there was Libby Lenton at the time, Trickett now, Jodie Henry and Alice Mills.

"They were the top three in the world and I came fourth to them. I thought, 'how am I ever going to swim that fast to beat those girls?'

"Now, I have got my own Commonwealth gold medals so I am really happy."

Tancock claimed his ninth Commonwealth medal but the hosts almost stole the show in the final race. Gold medallist Daniel Wallace led them off in a stunning challenge to Australia and Scotland were neck and neck after Robbie Renwick set off on the final leg, but Thomas Fraser-Holmes moved away to knock almost three seconds off the Games record.

But the night really belonged to young Davies who recorded her second personal best of the day to claim her medal.

And the teenager admitted afterwards that she kept the fact she was spending her summer holidays at the Commonwealth Games a secret from her school friends.

"They didn't know before I came here, I didn't really know how to tell them," she said.

Davies had finished second in the morning heat, which featured the same seven competitors as the final, and she admitted she had trouble keeping calm during the afternoon, although she did manage a sleep.

"I knew there was only seven of us in our event, so there was a chance," she said, giggling to herself in what was one of her first experiences of media duties. "I started getting really excited this morning.

"I am really happy to have another PB. I got a medal and I am so happy. I am feeling really, really happy."

When asked what she felt she could achieve in her sport, she said: "I don't know. I am just going to keep on swimming and see where it gets me."

Belfast Telegraph


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