English triathlete wins gold at Commonwealth Games' opening event
AFP Friday, July 25, 2014, 12:05 am TWN
GLASGOW, United Kingdom--England's Jodie Stimpson won the opening gold of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Thursday on a day when the multi-sport event was hit by the withdrawal of athletics legend Mo Farah.
Stimpson, a silver medal winner in the World Triathlon Series in 2013, sprinted clear with 400 meters remaining of the final 10-kilometer run to win a thrilling race that started with a 1.5k swim in and a 40k cycle around Strathclyde Loch.
Canada's Kirsten Sweetland claimed silver, with England's Vicky Holland taking bronze in warm, sunny conditions.
Action got underway also in the pool where top home hope for a gold medal, Michael Jamieson was upstaged by countryman Ross Murdoch in qualifying for the 200 meters breaststroke final.
Murdoch smashed the Commonwealth Games record by over two seconds in a time of 2 minutes 08.78 seconds with Jamieson and Calum Tait completing an all-Scottish top three in qualifying.
"Watching the crowd go wild and I just wanted that for myself and we did it, so it is something that I'll remember for the rest of my life," said the 20-year-old Murdoch.
Scotland's Hannah Miley also had the home crowd in raptures in the first heat of the event by breaking her own Commonwealth record in the women's 400 meter individual medley in a time of 4 minutes 38.27 seconds.
Commonwealth Games record times were tumbling all morning at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre as Jamaica's Ali Atkinson went fastest in the women's 50 meter breaststroke in a Games record time of 30.49 seconds.
The immediacy of the action took some of the sting out of Farah's withdrawal, which rocked the Games just as they got underway.
The 5,000 and 10,000 meters Olympic champion, 31, was recently laid low by illness and has decided to pull out of the Games in order to work on his fitness ahead of next month's European Championships in Zurich.
"I have taken the tough decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games," Farah said in a statement released by Team England.
"I really wanted to add the Commonwealth titles to my Olympic and World Championships, but the event is coming a few weeks too soon for me as my body is telling me it's not ready to race yet. Best wishes to my fellow athletes in Glasgow.
In total, 21 golds will be won on Thursday.
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