GLASGOW - Joanna Rowsell won England's 20th gold medal in Commonwealth Games track cycling by shattering Australia's and New Zealand's dominance of the women's 3000m individual pursuit on Friday. The 25-year-old finished nearly four seconds ahead of Australia's Annette Edmondson in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome with Amy Cure also of Australia edging out Scotland's Katie Archibald for bronze.
It was the first time that a country other than Australia or New Zealand had won this event. Rowsell, who suffers from alopecia, said she hoped her success on the track would help raise awareness of the condition. "I didn't realise before the London Olympics that it (alopecia) affected so many people. I was able to bring it to the public eye. I'd like to do more in the future for people who suffered with it," she said.
Sam Webster claimed gold for New Zealand in the men's sprint final for his second gold of the Games following his victory in the team sprint on Thursday. England's Jason Kenny, the reigning Olympic champion, had to settle for silver following a thrilling 2-1 final defeat. Australian veteran Jack Bobridge retained his men's 4000m individual pursuit title with the world record holder seeing off world champion and fellow Australian Alex Edmondson.
Meanwhile, Wales were hit by a second doping shock. Welsh 400m hurdler Rhys Williams, son of 1970s Wales and British Lion rugby icon 'JJ', was withdrawn from the Games after failing a doping test. It was the second failed doping test to hit the Wales team following that of 800m runner Gareth Warburton last week
The 30-year-old Williams, who had been named co-captain of his country's team and had been due to have run in the 400m hurdles, said he had been left "devastated" by the news of his positive test. "I am utterly devastated about the news of this anti-doping rule violation, which has come as a great shock to me," he said. In swimming competition, the Australian men's 4x100m freestyle relay team solidified their status as heavy favourites to retain the title as they qualified fastest ahead of England and Scotland for the final later Friday.
There was also a comfortable passage into the semi-finals of the women's 100m backstroke for another Aussie as Emily Seebholm broke her own Commonwealth Games record from Delhi four years ago in a time of 59:51sec. And Australia's Maddison Elliott pipped Stephanie Slater of England to qualify fastest for the women's para-sport freestyle 100m S8 final. England's Fran Halsall, however, set a new Commonwealth Games record of 24:31sec in qualifying fastest for the semi-finals of the women's 50m freestyle ahead of Australian sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell on Friday. The Campbell sisters had been part of the Aussie 4x100m freestyle relay team that broke the world record in claiming gold on Thursday and Bronte was first to break the Commonwealth record in the third heat of the day. Scotland's Ross Murdoch also built on his dream opening day as just over 12 hours after claiming 200m breaststroke gold, he qualified second fastest for the 100m breaststroke semi-finals.
However, it was England's Adam Peaty who comfortably led the world class field in the 100m breaststroke as he broke the Commonwealth Games record in a time of 59:47sec. In weightlifting, 16-year-old Nigerian Chika Amalaha won the women's 53kg gold with the men's 62kg title to be decided later. The shooting competition got under way with Singapore's Teo Shun Xie winning the women's 10m Air Pistol, India's Abhinav Bindra claimed gold in the men's 10m Air Rifle while women's skeet gold was taken by Australia's Laura Coles.
Eight-time Olympic hockey champions India opened their bid for a first Commonwealth men's gold with a 3-1 win over Wales. New Zealand started their campaign for a third successive netball gold with a nervy 50-47 win over Malawi.