Jess Learmonth won Team England’s first medal of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. She won silver behind world champion, Flora Duffy of Bermuda. Scotland’s Marc Austin won his first major championship medal with bronze in the men’s race behind Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Jake Birtwhistle (AUS).
2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games RESULTS:
For full results, please visit here
Learmonth put in a fine 750m swim, exiting the choppy water first with Duffy just behind and England’s Sophie Coldwell a further few seconds back. Unfortunately, Coldwell wasn’t able to catch Learmonth and Duffy, who were a formidable duo on the 20km bike section and distanced themselves from the chasing packs of athletes with each lap.
At the start of the 5km run, they had a gap of over a minute and claimed the gold and silver medals. A battle for bronze developed between Gold Coast home favourite, Ashleigh Gentle, England’s Vicky Holland and Canada’s Joanna Brown. Gentle is the stronger runner on paper, but Brown had the most speed at the end. Holland finished fourth, heartbreakingly close to the medals, but an excellent performance that will help England in Saturday’s Mixed Relay.
A rightfully delighted Learmonth commented: “I'm delighted. I tried to enjoy it as much as I could but with Jo (Brown) right behind me, it wasn't that enjoyable! But I can try and re-live it now and enjoy it. It was great to be the first Team England medal of the games - what an honour.”
For further reaction from Home Nations athletes, visit HERE.
Marc Austin’s bronze was not just his first major championship medal, but also Scotland’s first medal of the Games. The 24 year old from Glasgow got everything right to put himself in a position to challenge for the medal, and put in a fantastic run to claim the medal.
Austin said: “My race today was pretty great. Everything went according to plan and I knew that I couldn't have given anything else. I finished in a heap. My training leading up to the Games has been perfect, and I knew that if ever I was going to deliver my best performance, it was going to be today.”
There was disappointment for the Brownlee Brothers who finished 7th (Jonathan) and 10th (Alistair). Alistair was first out of the swim and cycled aggressively but couldn’t distance himself from the other favourites given a lack of run training due to injury.
Jonathan said: “I just didn't feel great. I've had ups and downs coming into this race and I was injured at the start of January, so I've missed a lot of training, but I thought I was going to be better than that today. Fair play to Marc (Austin) for getting on that podium.”
With Saturday’s Mixed Relay on his mind, Alistair added: “I absolutely gave it my all; I was even having a sprint finish at the end there for 10th place! My calf feels absolutely fine, I wouldn't have been sprinting at the end if it didn't. Obviously, I had the relay in the back of my mind as well.”
England, Wales and Scotland all have Mixed Relay teams ready for Saturday’s race. Saturday will also see the first ever Commonwealth Games Paratriathlon. Start lists are HERE.