Scotland win five medals on Commonwealth Games opening day

Mar Austin.Mar Austin.
Mar Austin.

Scotland won the first of five medals on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games in surprising style when Glaswegian Marc Austin took bronze in the men’s triathlon that also saw shock defeat for England’s superstar Brownlee brothers.

The first Scottish gold went to cyclist Neil Fachie, while swimmers Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch took silvers.

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Scotland’s other Gold Coast bronze to date was won by the men’s gymnastic team.

There was also a historic first win over England for Scotland’s basketballers.

Austin, 24, was on superb form to take an unexpected triathlon medal behind Henri Schoeman of South Africa and Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle.

He said: “I was obviously scared to dream about that kind of thing because it’s way beyond what I’ve done before but I knew I was capable of it. I thought, ‘I could beat the Brownlees here’.”

Austin had finished 22nd in the event in Glasgow in 2014 and admitted it was the “performance in his life” to take a medal in the event in Australia, which comprises a 50m open-water swim, 20km cycle and 5km run.

He said: “The [5km] at the end was a rollercoaster. I felt really good one minute and really bad the next.

“I was in second and then I saw the other boys coming really fast behind me and I thought this might be fifth or sixth.

“There was under 1km to go and I was really worried. I was thinking that this was going to be one of those agonising fourth places where you’re caught on the line.”

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Defending champion Alistair Brownlee, the England flagbearer, fell out of contention at the start of the run, eventually coming tenth, while brother Jonny finished seventh in one of their worst days.

In the velodrome, 2012 Paralympic champion and world record holder Fachie successfully defended his blind and visually impaired 1,000m time trial title from the 2014 Glasgow games, with new partner Matt Rotherham. Fachie, 34, from Aberdeen, who also broke his Commonwealth record, said: “Winning four years ago in Glasgow was truly special but it’s just as momentous here.

“The ride didn’t go entirely to plan but it was good enough to win.”

Hannah Miley’s bid for a record third gold medal in the women’s 400m individual medley was scuppered by England’s Aimee Willmott.

Miley had to settle for the silver after a thrilling duel with the Englishwoman, who trains in Stirling.

Miley won at the Delhi games in 2010 and Glasgow in 2014.

She said: “I gave it my all and I was so close to winning.

“It’s my third games on the podium in the same event at the age of 28. There are not many my age still swimming the 400 IM.”

Meanwhile, Murdoch was denied a gold medal by a late surge from England’s Glasgow-born James Wilby in a dramatic 200m breaststroke final.

Murdoch was unable to defend the title he famously won in Glasgow four years ago when he shocked poster boy Michael Jamieson, as Wilby’s strong finish overhauled the Scot’s lead.

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He said: “I’ve not lost a title at all. There was nothing to defend, I had nothing to lose and I went in there and got a silver medal. I had everything to gain.”

Scotland’s men’s gymnasts Hamish Carter, Frank Baines, Dan Purvis and Kevin Cham won a bronze medal in the men’s team event as a dominant England took the gold.

The quartet showed character to forced their way on the podium, one place behind the silver they secured four years ago in Glasgow.

Scotland’s basketballers defeated England 78-65 in a sensational opener.