England on top as Australia plan last hurrah
AFP Monday, August 4, 2014, 12:04 am TWN
GLASGOW, Scotland -- The Commonwealth Games end Sunday with England assured of top spot for the first time since 1986 but with deposed rivals Australia confident of a last hurrah before they host the 2018 edition.
England lead the medals table on 165 with 56 gold while Australia have 132 in total of which 45 are gold and with just 11 titles to be decided on the final day, the English can celebrate their best Commonwealth performance since the Edinburgh showpiece 28 years ago.
In road cycling, veterans Emma Pooley of England and David Millar of Scotland will be looking to sign off their careers with gold.
But both will have to overcome strong competitors and potentially wild, wet Glasgow weather if they are to go out on a high note.
Pooley's teammate Lizzie Armitstead will be favorite having finished second in the event at Delhi in 2010 and at the 2012 Olympics.
In the men's race, Peter Kennaugh of the Isle of Man, who won silver in the men's 40 km points race on the track, showed his road race credentials when he won the British championship in June.
Welsh rider Geraint Thomas, who took bronze in the individual time trial, will be a contender.
Millar, who won road race bronze at Delhi, finished eighth in the individual time trial on Thursday.
Australia has been the dominant nation in the road race, having taken the last four Games gold medals in the men's event and four of the six golds awarded for the women's since its Games debut at Auckland in 1990.
In the men's hockey final, India will face Australia in a repeat of the final from four years ago when the Aussies romped home 8-0.
World champions Australia are the four-time Commonwealth Games gold medallists and have lost only one game in the history of the tournament — 3-2 to South Africa in the pool stages at Kuala Lumpur 1998.
India will be boosted by the return of captain Sardar Singh who was suspended for the semi-final win against New Zealand.
New Zealand and Australia will contest a fifth consecutive netball final. Australia won the first two and New Zealand the last two.
New Zealand won their semi-final against England, 35-34 for the narrowest ever winning margin in a last-four clash.
In squash, Australia's David Palmer and Cameron Pilley take on defending champions Nick Matthew and Adrian Grant of England in the final of the men's doubles.
Palmer is also in the mixed doubles final alongside Rachael Grinham where the Australian pair face England's Peter Barker and Alison Waters.
Badminton concludes with five finals which will see Michelle Li of Canada face Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland in the women's final and Derek Wong of Singapore tackle second-seeded Kashyap Parupalli of India for the men's title.
In mixed doubles, it's an all-English final between husband and wife pairing, Chris and Gabby Adcock against Chris Langridge and Heather Olver.
The men's doubles final will see Tan Wee Kiong and Goh Wei Shem of Malaysia facing Danny Chrisnanta and Chayut Triyachart of Singapore while Malaysia's Hoo Vivian Kah Mun and Woon Khe Wei tussle with Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa of India in the women's doubles.
The closing ceremony takes place at Hampden Park from 2000 GMT with the Commonwealth Games Federation flag to be entrusted to officials from Australia's Gold Coast, the hosts of the 2018 Games.
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