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Double gold for Australia
March 18, 2006 13:13 IST
Emma Snowsill and Brad Kahlefeldt powered away on the final run at the Commonwealth Games on Saturday to give Australia their first two triathlon gold medals.
So often a force at world titles, Australia had never won a Commonwealth or Olympic gold medal but Snowsill and Kahlefeldt both put in commanding performances in front of their home crowd in the gruelling event.
Diminutive Snowsill fought off a strong challenge from New Zealanders, with Sam Warriner winning silver. Andrea Hewitt outsprinted fellow Kiwi Debbie Tanner to take bronze on the line.
Snowsill, the 2003 and 2005 world champion, kept in touch with the leaders during the 1.5 km swim and 40 km bike legs, but came into her own as she surged to the front about a third of the way into the closing 10 km run along Melbourne's foreshore.
"By far this is my biggest and most memorable win. I've won world championships and major events before but they've all been overseas," a delighted Snowsill said.
"To win this here in Melbourne is just amazing."
"I honestly can't believe it, it's still sinking in," the 24-year-old Snowsill said.
Knowing she had secured Australia's first gold medal, an emotional Snowsill stopped to kiss her father and draped an Australian flag over her shoulders before crossing the finish line.
"Ding, dong, the witch is dead," a jubilant Australian triathlon coach Bill Davoren said after her victory.
More joy was to come for the Australians in an enthralling men's race.
Only four seconds separated the top 15 after the bike leg and the final run soon became a battle between a pack of five.
Kahlefeldt fought off challenges from compatriot and 2005 world champion Peter Robertson, Athens silver medallist Bevan Docherty and his fellow New Zealander Kris Gemmell as well as Englishman Timothy Don.
Sometimes criticised for not winning major events despite his undeniable talent, the 26-year-old kicked clear about two-thirds of the way through the run and gradually built an unbeatable lead.
The race for the silver medal became an intriguing battle between Docherty and Robertson before the New Zealander pulled away from a tiring Robertson close to the line to win the silver medal. Robertson held on for the bronze medal.