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Geetika Jakhar, (at rear), of India wrestles with Sarah Connolly of Wales, during their women’s freestyle 63-kg wrestling bout at the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, in Glasgow, Scotland, July 31. (AP)
Dowsett, Villumsen take cycling gold in Glasgow Kobaladze shines

 GLASGOW, July 31, (AFP): Alex Dowsett went one better than New Dehli four years ago when he claimed gold for England in the men’s individual time trial at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Thursday. Linda Villumsen, who also just missed out on top spot last time out, claimed a historic 600th Commonwealth Games medal for New Zealand as she raced to gold in the women’s event.

New Zealand becomes the fourth Commonwealth Games Association to reach that total after Australia, England and Canada. In a closely-contested men’s race, Dowsett produced a flying finish to claim the title in 47min 41.78sec — nine seconds ahead of Australian Rohan Dennis in second. Geraint Thomas finished third over the 38.4kms course to claim the bronze for Wales. “I can’t describe just how happy I am. Winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games is a huge personal victory for me,” Dowsett said.
 
“This was a massive target for me and nobody wanted gold more than I did. This will be a career highlight for me regardless of what I do from here on end.”
Dowsett set down an early marker as he finished the first 6.4km just under four seconds faster than Jesse Sergent of New Zealand.
The English rider’s consistent rhythm saw him stretch his lead after 17.1km.
Rohan trailed Dowsett by seven seconds at this stage but over the next 15km the Australian managed to overtake the Englishman to take a five second lead into the final 6.4km.
However, Dowsett was able to dig deep to find the energy to sprint home fastest.
“I was getting time checks all the way around. I thought it was all over to be honest as I was struggling over the last 10km, but obviously everyone was struggling,” the 25-year-old said.
“I just fought harder than I had ever fought before.”
 
Reigning Commonwealth Games champion, Scotland’s David Millar, who is in his final season as a professional cyclist, was unable to end his Commonwealth career with a medal, finishing in eighth place.
In the women’s race, riders had to deal with wet conditions as intermittent rain forced them to slow down through turns.
However, Villumsen was able to banish the memory of New Dehli, where she had to settle for silver, to finish in a time of 42 minutes 25.46 seconds over the 29.6km course.
“It is just incredible; it’s something I’ve worked hard for over the last four years now,” the 29-year-old, who was second in last year’s world championships, said.
“Every year at the Olympics or the world championships I am always nearly there but missing something. I came here thinking that it could happen again but today finally everything worked out from start to finish so I’m really happy.”
England’s Emma Pooley, who was recently crowned British national champion for a third time, finished in second place just six seconds behind.
 
For Pooley it was a final race before retiring from cycling to concentrate on triathlon and marathon running.
“It was close but I’m happy to be on the podium, there was nothing I could have done any better,” the silver medallist said.
“I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to compete for so long, and am grateful to those who have supported me over the past seven or eight years. To get a medal today tops everything.”
Bronze medallist Katrin Garfoot only started riding four years ago after she married coach Chris Garfoot and moved from Germany to Australia.
“I am very excited. It means a lot to win a Commonwealth Games medal for Australia,” Garfoot, who only gained Australian citizenship last year, said.
“Since I met my husband I always wanted to ride for Australia. I dreamed of a medal but only hoped for the top 10. This makes it all so worthwhile, all the hard work, fighting and all the tears.”
There was gold early on Thursday also for South Africa in the lawn bowls para open triples, defeating New Zealand 13-11 in the final at Kelvingrove.
It was the fourth lawn bowls gold to date for the South African team, the first time that has been achieved at a Commonwealth Games.
 
In field hockey England’s men moved through to a semi-final clash with champions Australia after a routine 3-1 win over Canada. The Australians were too good for Scotland winning 5-0
New Zealand ensured they finish top of Group B by defeating Malaysia 6-1.
Canada moved up into third place in the medals table with two golds in wrestling courtesy of Danielle Lappage in the women’s -63kg division and Tamerlan Tagziev in men’s -86kg.
George Kobaladze won the final weightlifting gold for Canada by taking the +105kg title with a new Games record combined weight of 400kg in the snatch and the clean and jerk.
“This was one of the most important lifts in my career. It is my first win in an international competition and, at 38, I feel like I’ve used my last chance,” said Kobaladze.
In gymnastics, England won three of the five golds on offer through Max Whitlock in the men’s floor event, Claudia Fragapane in women’s vault — her third title of the Games — and Rebecca Downie on the uneven bars.
At just 22, Downie still ranks as the oldest gold medallist in the event.
India took two wrestling golds thanks to Babita Kumari in the women’s -55kg and Yogeshwar Dutt in the men’s -65kg.

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