Comm Games: Fourth for Hewitt

By Kris Shannon in Glasgow

Andrea Hewitt was left with disappointed as England grabbed two medals in the women's triathlon. Photo / Greg Bowker
Andrea Hewitt was left with disappointed as England grabbed two medals in the women's triathlon. Photo / Greg Bowker

Andrea Hewitt had her eyes on providing a golden start to New Zealand's Commonwealth Games campaign. Instead she was left with the harsh feeling of fourth.

The Kiwi efforts at the Glasgow Games began in agonising fashion overnight (NZT), with Hewitt huffing and puffing but unable to avoid being blown away by some of the sport's heavyweights.

Hewitt had hoped to claim the first gold medal of the Glasgow Games but, like at the London Olympics two year ago, she was unable to manage a medal after the event dissolved into a straight running race.

The 32-year-old was confident the hilly course around Strathclyde Park in Motherwell would suit her style but, on a brilliantly sunny day, the English athletes were just too strong on the final leg.

Jodie Stimpson, ranked second in the world, combined with compatriot Vicky Holland to press the pace on the run, claiming gold as Holland grabbed bronze. Canada's Kirsten Sweetman took silver, with Hewitt 30 seconds behind Stimpson in fourth.

Hewitt was smart on the bike, conserving her energy in the front group of 10 knowing she would need it for the run. And so it proved, with an undulating course leaving legs weary and the pulse racing as the run progressed.

Unfortunately for the Kiwi, the pace on the final lap proved too brutal. She initially ran with true grit to bridge a couple of gaps, hanging on as the leading trio threatened to streak away, but the writing was well and truly on the wall.

One final surge from the English finally shook off Hewitt, her medal prospects disappearing with a couple of kilometres to go. Hewitt was proud of her efforts post-race, saying she "gave it everything", but acknowledged her opponents were too formidable for her tired body to counter.

"I've got mixed feelings," she said. "I wanted a podium, so fourth's not a great result. I did my best - I was in that front group on the bike but at the start of the run my legs felt like jelly going up the first hill.

"The hill on the last lap, with all the surges, I just couldn't go with it. I felt my legs skip, I couldn't actually pick them up to get up the hill. I was doing my best but I couldn't get up there."

Elsewhere for New Zealand, Nicky Samuels came home almost five minutes back in 10th after leading the Kiwi team out of the water before being unable to keep touch on the run.

In a strange way, both Samuels and the national selectors will feel somewhat vindicated after the saga that saw her inclusion in the team coming only after an appeal. The selection criteria stated an athlete must be capable of a top-six finish, and Samuels' weaker run meant that wasn't the case today, but she also produced a better showing than teammate Kate McIlroy, who finished 12th.

Meanwhile, in the men's race, New Zealand were shut out of the medals in a predictable master-class from the Brownlee brothers. The English duo dominated from start to finish, with Alistair claiming gold ahead of younger brother Jonny, as South Africa's Richard Murray took bronze.

Tony Dodds was the best of the Kiwis in 10th, while Ryan Sissons finished 13th and Tom Davison failed to finish.

- NZ Herald

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