The Northern Irish cyclists started their campaign at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia today recording two personal bests and a top ten finish. Robyn Stewart recorded a competition best to finish 9th in the Women’s Sprint, with a qualifying time of 11.082 seconds for the 200m opening round.
“I’m delighted with a big race PB today – especially with it on a 250m track” said a relieved Stewart after her race.
Emma Cumming from New Zealand, who Stewart faced in the quarter final had qualified 8th with an advantage of 0.003 seconds in a time of 11.079. “Qualifying 9th meant that I raced the 8th placed rider. We were so close in qualifying. I put up a good fight, but Emma had the better of me!”
It was a memorable experience for Glasgow based Stewart, who is competing in her first Commonwealth Games – “The atmosphere was amazing – it was such a good day! I’m excited for the Keirin now on Sunday night – there’s lots more in the tank!”
In the Individual Pursuit, Eileen Burns finished 17th with a personal best time of 3.42.486 – 8 seconds faster than her previous record from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. Her event was won in a Games record of 3.24.119 by multiple World Champion and Olympic Champion Katie Archibald from Scotland.
Archibald’s brother John was the silver medallist in the men’s 4km Individual Pursuit – an event which saw both Xeno Young and Marcus Christie in action. Young won silver medals in this event as a junior at both World and European level, and his 14th place at these Games signals a bright future for the Powerhouse Sport rider. Young finished with a personal best time of 4.24.568, and Christie was 20th with 4.35.402.
Speaking after her Pursuit Burns relished the experience – “The atmosphere in the track was amazing! It was a full house of spectators and they were lifting the roof off cheering encouragement in every race. My family, including my husband and sister have made the journey over from home to watch me – so that made it even more special.”
Burns competed in the Pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, so had targeted 3.40 for the 3km – “I did a 3.50 in Glasgow so had set myself a goal of 3.40 for the Individual Pursuit – and I did 3.42. But I will look on the bright side and take my PB of 8 seconds. I caught my competitor which helped to drive me on – and I know the areas that I can improve on.”
Racing at the Commonwealth Games continues tomorrow with bunch races – Mark Downey, Marc Potts and Xeno Young compete in the Men’s Scratch Race, while Lydia Boylan lines up in the Women’s Points Race.
Gold Stephanie Morton (Australia)
Silver Nathasha Hanson (New Zealand)
Bronze Kaarle McCulloch (Australia)
9th Robyn Stewart (Northern Ireland)
Women’s Individual Pursuit
Gold Katie Archibald (Scotland)
Silver Rebecca Wiasak (New Zealand)
Bronze Annette Edmondson (Australia)
17th Eileen Burns (Northern Ireland)
Men’s Individual Pursuit
Gold Charlie Tanfield (England)
Silver John Archibald (Scotland)
Bronze Dylan Kennett (New Zealand)
14th Xeno Young (Northern Ireland)
20th Marcus Christie (Northern Ireland)