Commonwealth Games: Eddie Dawkins praises teamwork in gold medal race against England

  • 06/04/2018

New Zealand's Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning sprint trio have rediscovered their mojo with a return to the team ethic which underpinned their past success.           

Eddie Dawkins, Sam Webster and Ethan Mitchell shrugged off their disappointing sixth from last month's world championships in the Netherlands with a well- judged win over England at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane.    

In the process, the trio defended the title they won four years ago in Glasgow and won New Zealand's first gold of the Gold Coast Games.

Their winning time of 42.877 seconds was nearly half a second quicker than England, and only fractionally slower than the Games record 42.822 they set in qualifying.

Dawkins, who anchored the Kiwis home with a flourish, said the win had been particularly satisfying after their disappointing showing at the world championships.       

"At the worlds, it didn't really come together," he said afterwards.         

"We had the form, and we had the rough technique but we just didn't gel together as a team. 

"But we sort of kicked ourselves in the guts, and came back stronger and much tighter as a group."

Prior to the world championships, Dawkins said the trio had spent time concentrating on their individual events, possibly at the expense of their teamwork.              

"We worked a lot on our individual events trying to hone our skills as sprinters instead of team sprinters.

"Maybe we got a little bit far away from the team ethic which led us to success in the first place."            

The men's sprint victory topped off two silvers from two earlier finals, the New Zealand women were well beaten both times by Australia.          

Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath won New Zealand's first medal of the Games in the team pursuit.
Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath won New Zealand's first medal of the Games in the team pursuit. Photo credit: Photosport

Bryony Botha, Rushlee Buchanan, Kirstie James and Racquel Sheath won New Zealand's first medal of the Games in the team pursuit.    

Natasha Hansen and Emma Cumming also finished second, beaten by Kaarle McCulloch and Stephanie Morton in the team sprint.  

The Australians, who set a new Games record of 32.578 in qualifying, went even faster in the final in clocking 32.488 to Hansen and Cumming on 33.115.             

Hansen said it had nonetheless been a satisfying result.

"We're really pleased - we did a PB in qualifying, and then we did another one this evening, so it was good to execute against the Australians, who are very strong right now."               

The Kiwi women's team pursuit quartet were completed outpowered, overtaken by Australia on the last lap and eventually finishing nearly 10 seconds behind.  

Alexandra Manly, Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Akudinoff and Amy Cure clocked four minutes 15.214 seconds for their second new Games record of the night after topping qualifying with 4:17.218.   

NZN