A crucial third leg from Ashleigh Gentle has helped deliver Australia a gold medal in the mixed team triathlon relay at the Commonwealth Games.
Gentle had been among the medal favourites for the women’s individual triathlon on Thursday but was disappointed with her fifth-place finish.
She redeemed herself in Southport on Saturday when she handed the men’s individual silver medallist Jake Birtwhistle a significant 39-second lead at the beginning of the final leg.
Birtwhistle, who stormed home on Thursday to grab a podium finish for Australia, was then able to increase the buffer over England’s two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee.
The Australians stopped the clock in one hour, 17 minutes and 36 seconds, with England 52 seconds behind in second place, while New Zealand claimed bronze.
Matthew Hauser battled with England’s Alister Brownlee during the mixed team triathlon. (AAP: Dean Lewins)
Gillian Backhouse and Matt Hauser opened the relay for Australia and by the time Gentle entered the fray she was level-pegging with England’s Jess Learmonth, who was the silver medallist in the individual event.
Learmonth moved in front on the 250-metre swim, however Gentle kept in touch during the 7km trek on the bike and the pair hit the transition together.
The Englishwoman appeared to roll her ankle when attempting to get off her bike, which was the moment Gentle seized the opportunity and opened a sizeable lead on the 1.5km run.
It is Australia’s first triathlon gold medal since the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, although the sport was left out of the 2010 program in Delhi.
Earlier, Australia enjoyed medal success in the men’s and women’s paratriathlon events.
Nic Beveridge and Bill Chaffey won silver and bronze respectively in the men’s race, while Emily Tapp and Lauren Parker did likewise in the women’s competition.
World champ Glaetzer out of Comm Games sprint
World champion Matthew Glaetzer has made a shock departure from the men’s sprint, less than 24 hours after winning gold in the keirin.
Glaetzer was forced to back up for the qualifying round of the sprint at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon and seemed to show no ill effects when he produced a Games record of 9.583 seconds to top the standings.
But Glaetzer, competing only five weeks after securing his world championship in Apeldoorn, was eliminated in the quarter-finals when he lost to Malaysia’s Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom.
The men’s sprint had been one of the most anticipated events of the track cycling program at the Commonwealth Games, with Glaetzer tipped to do battle with Scotland’s Jack Carlin.
Glaetzer had defeated Carlin in the final at the world titles last month.