Adams calls the shot as Yelavich fires

By Daniel Gilhooly

They were the shots heard around New Zealand - the big one biffed by Valerie Adams, the several small ones fired by Greg Yelavich and Alan Earle.

Just two medals were acquired by black-clad athletes as the Commonwealth Games passed the halfway mark, but the day-six recipients will be familiar to all who know their sport.

Adams heaved out one of the most predictable golds at Delhi in the women's shot put, not long after obsessive shooting medal collector Yelavich teamed with Earle to finish second in the pairs 25m centrefire pistol.

These Games have been unpredictable but nobody expected shot putting colossus Adams to be toppled.

The Olympic and world champion produced a Games record 20.47m on her opening throw and nobody got within 4m of that aside from the 19.03m of plucky Trinidad and Tobago thrower Cleopatra Brown.

Adams was all business and pleased with a performance which ended a difficult year on a bright note. She spent most of 2010 playing second fiddle to Belarussian rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk while, away from the circle, she separated from her husband and from her long-time coach.

"People just expect you to win, so to come out here and defend my title and defend it with a very big throw, I'm bloody happy," she said.

It was Games medal No 12 for Yelavich, dating back to 1986, his silver won with a tinge of drama surrounding his teammate.

Earle had to take two goes at the crucial final shot, as his pistol failed to fire the first time he squeezed the trigger. The referee checked the firearm out, and needing an eight (out of 10) Earle sealed the deal, holding off the Singapore pair by a point.

Fifth before the final bracket of shots, they stormed home to pass every team, bar winners India.

Yelavich, 53, was stunned to learn the result.

"I had no idea until one of the officials came up and shook my hand. I thought he was saying goodbye to me or something."

It was the opposite at the women's trap, where Nadine Stanton and Natalie Rooney finished fourth and fifth respectively after blowing prime positions.

Stanton missed out on bronze courtesy of a botched final shot while Rooney was second leading into the final round, only to plummet from contention.

It was a similar tale of missed targets for archer Shaun Teasdale, the highest ranked athlete in the men's compound competition who bowed out in the semifinals 6-2 to England's Duncan Busby before also losing the playoff for bronze.

Hoping for better in their knockout phase are women's bowls pair Jan Khan and Manu Timoti, who somehow advanced to the playoffs despite losing their final round-robin match against Northern Ireland.

Assuming that would mark the end of their Games, they could barely believe it when they heard that two other unlikely results had gone their way, meaning they finished second in their group behind Australia.

The men's pairs and triples and women's triples were all out of playoff contention before the day began.

Semifinals are all the talk at the hockey turf, with the women charging there unbeaten, while the men must wait another day after suffering their first loss.

The women weren't at their best against Canada but a scratchy 3-1 win secured top spot and a semi against South Africa.

England's men outclassed the Black Sticks 5-3, leaving things teetering ahead of their final pool match against Canada.

Struggling with the heat, some questionable umpiring and a sharp English outfit, New Zealand can guarantee a semifinal berth with victory today but the semi may well be against tournament big fish Australia.

A swimming campaign that produced six medals ended with a whimper. Glenn Snyders was last in the 200m breaststroke while Natalie Wiegersma was too sick to contest the 400m individual medley becoming the first New Zealand athlete laid low by a stomach bug at the Games.

It was something even more innocuous at the boxing that raised the heckles of New Zealand coach Billy Meehan.

David Aloua lost his bout when the referee stopped the contest, advised by a ringside doctor that the Aucklander was unfit to continue after taking a series of blows from Kenyan opponent.

Meehan said Aloua's only injury was a bleeding nose, and even that was at the minor end of the scale.

"This is absolutely ridiculous, absolute garbage," Meehan said.

"The doctor must be about 90 years old and he's got absolutely no idea what he's doing."

New Zealand's medal tally sits at 21 - two golds, 14 silvers and five bronze - with five days remaining.


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