The tough side of being a professional athlete

08 October 2010

Joseph Romanos writes... Marina Erakovic gave us a peep at the other side of being a professional athlete today. Erakovic, New Zealand’s best tennis player, lost in the quarter-finals of the singles at the Commonwealth Games, beaten by local hero Sania Mirza 6-2, 6-3. Though it was her third singles match in Delhi, her first two opponents offered Erakovic negligible opposition and today’s was her first real test. She tried hard but was unable to make any headway against an opponent who looked confident and who wielded a formidable forehand and a tricky sliced service.

Five swimmers qualify for finals

08 October 2010

New Zealanders enjoyed another successful afternoon in the pool today, with five swimmers qualifying for finals tomorrow. Daniel Bell excelled in qualifying third in the 100m backstroke in 54.38s, while team-mate Gareth Kean, already a silver medallist in the 200m backstroke, swam in the same race and qualified sixth in 55.26s. Hayley Palmer, who has swum impressively in Delhi, qualified second in the 50m freestyle in 25.11s.

Cycling medal haul grows

08 October 2010

New Zealand’s red-hot track cycling squad picked up another three medals at the track today. The men’s team pursuiters lost their finals ride to Australia and had to settle for silver, Joanne Kiesanowski grabbed a silver on the line in the women’s scratch race and Sam Webster, who has looked sharp all week, beat team-mate Eddie Dawkins to win the bronze medal in the sprint. To the uninitiated the teams pursuit effort looked a shambles. Sam Bewley had dropped off by the 2.5km point and by the end the other three New Zealand riders were scattered around the track.

Two losses in the tennis

07 October 2010

New Zealand didn’t have the happiest of times of it in the Commonwealth Games tennis singles tournament today. Davis Cup player Rubin Statham lost 6-3, 6-4 to Indian Somdev Devvarman in the quarter-finals.Statham, 23, was seeded sixth in the singles, but found the accuracy and depth of the top-seeded Devvarman’s groundstrokes difficult to overcome. The match was played in steamy conditions that seemed to sap Statham’s energy in the second set, especially with the amount of scuttling along the baseline he was required to do in chasing the Indian’s shots.

Swimmers smiling

07 October 2010

Moss Burmester led a successful outing for New Zealand swimmers at the pool this morning. Burmester, looking to atone for his disappointing result in his specialty event, the 200m butterfly, qualified ninth for the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly, the race in which he won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal four years ago in Melbourne. His time today was 54.69s.

Tough battle for Silver Ferns

07 October 2010

The Silver Ferns’ stepped up their campaign to defend their Commonwealth Games netball title with a hard-fought 47-41 win over England today. The New Zealanders trailed for much of the match. They were down 24-22 at halftime and 35-34 going into the final quarter.

King Shows a Champion's Ability

07 October 2010

Joseph Romanos writes... Squash player Joelle King could be following in some illustrious footsteps if her performances at the Delhi Commonwealth Games are an indication. King has long been touted a coming player and the 21-year-old from Cambridge is now really delivering the goods at senior level. Whether she’ll ever match the performances of Susan Devoy, Leilani Joyce and Carol Owens (the latter an Australian who immigrated to New Zealand and then wore the Silver Fern with pride) and reach the world No 1 ranking is yet to be seen.

Hamill strikes silver at stadium

07 October 2010

Southlander Jess Hamill got New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games track and field campaign off to a flying start when she won the silver medal in the F34 shot put this evening. Hamill, 20, had a best throw this evening of 7.17m. Once her level of disability was taken into account this earned her 979 points and placed her second behind Australian Louise Ellery, who totalled 1110 points. The New Zealander para athlete was comfortably ahead of third-placed Gemma Prescott of England, who finished with 952 points.

Two swimming silvers

07 October 2010

New Zealand picked up two silver medals in the Commonwealth Games pool this evening. Wellingtonian Gareth Kean, who qualified only eighth in the 200m backstroke, stormed home to snatch second place. And in the last race of the evening programme, the New Zealand women’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay team swam superbly to edge out the English and Canadian teams and take the silver behind Australia. Kean, who turned 19 yesterday, gave himself a belated birthday present.

Two more medals for cyclists

06 October 2010

The strong New Zealand cycling squad added two further medals to their Delhi Commonwealth Games tally today. Lauren Ellis of Ashburton grabbed the silver in the women's 25km points race and keirin rider Simon van Velthooven won a controversial bronze medal, after initially being placed fourth in his event.Yesterday Jesse Sergent and Eddie Dawkins won cycling medals for New Zealand, so the squad is on fire.

Squash women bow out

06 October 2010

Both New Zealand women bowed out of the Commonwealth Games women’s singles squash quarter-finals today, but Joelle King excited Kiwi supporters with a top-class performance against world No 4 Alison Waters of England. King went within a whisker of pulling off an upset, but Jaclyn Hawkes found the going too tough against second seeded Englishwoman Jenny Duncalf.Seeded 12th, King had the job ahead of her against Waters, the third seed in the singles in Delhi.

Kean into backstroke final

06 October 2010

Wellingtonian Gareth Kean was below his best but snuck into tonight’s final of the Commonwealth Games 200m backstroke. Kean, who celebrated his 19th birthday yesterday, was ranked third equal on time going into his morning heat, but was well off his best pace. He has a personal best of 1min 57s, set a few weeks ago, but today managed just 2min 00.86 and snuck into the final as the eighth qualifier. The next best time was 2min 01.37s.

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