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Leiston Pickett Wins First Gold in the Pool

published  First Published: 05/10/2010
Article written by: Nigel Brookson
Commonwealth Games Delhi
Day Two Highlights:
Australia picks up its first gold medal in the pool on day two of competition but it wasn't breaststroke queen Leisel Jones who delivered the goods over 50 metres.
 Instead her teenage teammate Leiston Pickett, the fastest qualifier in lane four, claimed gold ahead of Jones, who had previously indicated the shortest race distance would be her most difficult in Delhi.
Pickett touched the wall in 30.84 seconds, upsetting reigning champion Jones (31.10), while Englands Kate Haywood (31.17) was third.
Pickett was thrilled, saying she didn't expect to topple Jones coming into the meet. "I wanted to come in and learn as much as I could and to get up onto the podium, I had in mind, but to come out with a gold is one of my dreams come true," she said.
Jones, meanwhile, was upbeat despite having to settle for silver.
"An Australian 1-2 is pretty awesome, 1-2-3 would have been pretty nice, but as long as we knock England off the top spot thats pretty fine," she said.
Teenage star Leiston Pickett has led veteran Leisel Jones to an Australian one-two finish in the final of the women's 50 metres breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Following near misses for Marieke Guehrer (women's 50m butterfly) and Hayden Stoeckel (men's 50m backstroke) the Australians were not to be denied in the third fast final of the night.
Pickett led the field after a great start in lane four and touched home in the gold medal time of 30.84 seconds, ahead of champion breaststroker Jones who posted 31.10 seconds from lane three.
Proving her hot form in the heats and semis no fluke, 18-year-old Pickett pipped Jones to deny the 25-year-old a chance to clean sweep the breaststroke events as she did in Melbourne four years ago.
England's Kate Haywood finished third with another Australian in Sarah Katsoulis taking fourth place.
Pickett said winning gold was unexpected.
"I had always been looking forward to competing at these Games for long time now. I wasn't really coming in with the aim of a gold," she said.
"I really wanted to come in and learn as much as I could. And to get up on the podium obviously I had in my mind.
"But to come up with a gold obviously is one of my dreams come true."
"I guess I was just trying to focus on my own race and really think about things that I've got to do not the pressure ... "I just made sure I am focussing on myself and nothing else around me really.
"Its certainly been an interesting experience, especially being here in Delhi."
Jones, who has targeted the 200m event in Delhi, said she was happy to play second fiddle - as long as it meant getting up over the English.
"One, two, three would have been really nice but just as long as we pushed the English off the top spot that was fine," she said.
"There was a bit of pressure on us to get up there and win some gold medals. But [England] obviously have got all the funding to perform well but it was nice to get up their without that and still get one, two."
"This is a small step for us [before London]. For me personally it's a small step towards London. But it's just good for our confidence, good for team moral to perform well."
"We are on top of the leader tally for medals so we are pretty stoked with that. So if we can continue on this momentum we will be pretty happy with that."

Other Day Two Golden Highlights For Australia

World class gymnast Lauren Mitchell has made a triumphant return from a long injury lay-off to lead Australias female team to a fourth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Mitchell's first competition in 10 months started in rusty fashion on Tuesday night but she bounced back to be the best performed competitor overall on the four apparatus.
The effort spearheaded the Australian team to a dominant victory at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium as they finished with 163.7 points, well clear of England (158.2) and Canada (154.75).
Former Iranian wrestler Hassan Shahsavan has won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal for Australia in the 74kg Greco-Roman wrestling.
The 34-year-old Beijing Olympian beat Pakistans Muhammad Ali in two sets, before giving Nigerian Perefegha Kiribein the same treatment in the repechage final to claim third spot on the podium at the Indira Gandhi Complex in Delhi.
It was a thrilling final in the men's 4000m individual pursuit, with hot competition between Australia and New Zealand for the gold medal.
Over the final laps Australia's Jack Bobridge held off a strong challenge from Kiwi Jesse Sergent, clocking 4:17.495 at the velodrome, to make it three gold medals for Australia on the track today.
And there was more joy for the green and gold, with Michael Hepburn claiming the bronze medal when he beat New Zealander Sam Bewley in the ride-off between third and fourth.
Australian cyclist Anna Meares has won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games women's 500m time trial.
Three-time world champion Meares took gold in a time of 33.758 seconds at Delhis Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.
Australian Kaarle McCulloch won the silver in 34.780sec, with Wales' Becky James the bronze in 35.236.
West Australian Scott Sunderland makes it two gold medals from two events for Australia's track cyclists on the opening day of Commonwealth Games competition.
The 22-year-old won the men's 1000m time trial to add to Anna Meares earlier victory in the women's 500m time trial.
Sunderland set a new Games record, clocking one min 1.411 seconds at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.



Related Article: Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010, Comeback King Huegill Wins Gold


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