Sophie Unwin and Georgia Holt savour belated medal success at Commonwealth Games

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Sophie Unwin and Georgia Holt were back on the velodrome podium at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday and this time the medals were theirs.

Two days after the controversy of not being awarded bronze for finishing third in the women’s tandem B sprint, they came back and won silver in the time trial to the delight of the London crowd.

Unwin had been left in tears on Friday when it was ruled they would not be given bronze because only four teams started the sprint – with one of the five who had registered unable to race due to injury.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – Day Three
Sophie Unwin and pilot Georgia Holt celebrate with the London crowd (John Walton/PA)

Although their final had been billed as a bronze medal race and they appeared on official results as medallists, Unwin and her pilot Holt were denied medals, and were fined after trying to stand behind the podium ceremony holding an England flag.

But that all provided a little extra motivation on Sunday as they beat Scotland’s Aileen McGlynn, piloted by Ellie Stone, to silver with Jessica Gallagher and Caitlin Ward taking gold for Australia.

“It’s really special,” Unwin said. “I think we both came into today thinking, ‘New day, new race’ but we also wanted to get on the podium and we did exactly what we wanted to do. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions but we’ve just been resetting. It’s a new day and we go again.”

Holt added: “She’s tenacious. We woke up on Saturday new women.”

Under competition rules, only gold and silver medals are awarded if fewer than five teams take part in an event. But as there had been five teams on the original start-list for the sprint, there was a breakdown in communications over bronze.

Unwin and Holt were clear they thought they were racing for a medal, as did all those watching in the velodrome.

“Had we known we weren’t racing for bronze we maybe would have saved the legs for today,” Holt said.

Officials were confused too – the pair had their post-race interviews cut short when they were told to prepare for the podium, but then re-emerged with Unwin in tears.

After being ushered away from the podium ceremony, they borrowed medals from the England women’s team pursuit squad and had their own unofficial photoshoot on the podium.

“It was a simple case of miscommunication and we’ve apologised to the organisers,” Unwin said. “We didn’t want to cause any upset or show disrespect to the Games or any riders, that wasn’t our intention.

“We were emotional in the moment and we just want to thank everyone in the velodrome, everyone that messaged us and Team England. They’ve given us a huge amount of support and that’s what we’ll take away.

“The moment we had with the crowd will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

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