Olympic champions take center stage at Commonwealth
AFP Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:45 am TWN
GLASGOW, Scotland--Olympic champions David Rudisha and Sally Pearson take center stage at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday where seven medals are up for grabs on the fifth day of track and field.
Kenya's Rudisha, who set a blistering world record when winning Olympic gold in London in 2012, will go in the 800 meters against archrival Nijel Amos of Botswana.
"I'm happy to have qualified through the heat and the semifinals. I am looking forward to the final. The final is my main competition and I am looking forward to it," said Rudisha.
In the absence of Usain Bolt, Jamaica's world silver and Olympic bronze medalist Warren Weir and teammates Jason Livermore and Rasheed Dwyer will be hoping to emulate Kemar Bailey-Cole's victory in the men's 100 meters.
The men's 400-meter hurdles also features a strong line-up for the final, with Jehue Gordon gunning for Trinidad and Tobago's first track gold, but with South African Cornel Fredericks looking strong.
There are also finals in the men's discus, while the women also have the 400-meter hurdles and discus.
Australia's Olympic champion Sally Pearson will be hoping to put the controversy over suspended head coach Eric Hollingsworth behind her when she takes to the track for heats in the 100-meter hurdles.
Hollingsworth was suspended Wednesday after disparaging comments about the star hurdler missing a pre-Games training camp.
The focus for cycling turns to the road with the individual time trial.
As the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, Scotland's David Millar will be looking to defend that title over the 40 km circuit around Glasgow and surrounding areas.
This marks his final season as a professional cyclist and he will be determined to finish his career in style.
His chances have been boosted by the absence of Bradley Wiggins' name on the start sheet after the former Tour de France winner opted to focus on the track, where he won silver in the Team pursuit for England.
Millar is Time Trial Favorite
Millar will face tough opposition from Alex Dowsett of England, who took silver in Dehli four years ago, and Welsh rider Geraint Thomas who arrives in Scotland on the back of claiming his highest ever finish of 22nd in the Tour de France.
Australian trio of Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn will also be among the favorites for the title.
New Zealand's Linda Villumsen, who has been consistently winning medals on the road for the past five years, is the favorite to claim the women's title.
Hoping to overhaul her are England's Emma Pooley, who was recently crowned the British national champion for a third time, Scotland's Katie Archibald, who claimed a bronze on the track in the women's points race, and Welsh rider Elinor Barker.
In all 25 golds are up for grabs on Thursday.
Five will be in gymnastics with finals in men's floor, women's vault, men's pommel horse, women's uneven bars and men's rings.
Four are to be decided in wrestling and two in diving.
Weightlifting concludes with the men's +105 kg where Australia's Damon Kelly defends his title against the favored challenge of Nauru's Itte Detenamo who finished above the Australian at the 2012 Olympics.
India and South Africa will battle it out for a place in the semifinals of the men's hockey tournament.
A draw will be enough for 2010 silver medalists India as they have the better goal difference with both sides having lost to gold medal favorites Australia and beaten Scotland and Wales in their opening three matches.
Australia will look to round off a 100 percent record in Group A with a victory over already eliminated hosts Scotland in the other game in the group.
England will secure their place in the last four as long as they avoid a heavy defeat against Canada, whilst New Zealand can make sure they finish top of Group B and avoid a semifinal meeting with Australia with victory over Malaysia.
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