Stewart powers to sensational Commonwealth points gold

Yahoo Sport UK
Mark Stewart powered to glory on the Gold Coast
Mark Stewart powered to glory on the Gold Coast

Never have the words proud Scot seemed more appropriate than when Mark Stewart was belting out Flower of Scotland with bottom lip quivering having won his first Commonwealth Games gold medal.

The 22-year-old brought the curtain down on a roaring four days of track cycling at the Anna Meares Velodrome with a stunning points race victory, ahead of England’s Ethan Hayter in third.

That gave Scotland second place in the track cycling medal table with 10 in total and four gold, one place ahead of England in third.

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Wales came home fourth as the home nations combined to win 23 medals, eight of which were gold – beating the Aussies’ overall total but shy of their ten golds.

Stewart’s gold came courtesy of a buccaneering display in the points race, taking three laps on the field and finishing on 81 points, ahead of New Zealand’s Campbell Stewart on 69 and Hayter on 68.

“I’m really proud. That was a lot of hard work and it’s come together nicely. I’m only 22 but I feel like I’ve been at this for ages,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of good days and a lot of bad days but this is definitely up there with the good days.

“I knew going into this week that the points race was always the goal.

“Riding the individual pursuit and the scratch race were almost activations for today, and it worked – it doesn’t often work so I’m still surprised.”

Hayter’s medal was just reward for his gallant effort in finishing fifth in Saturday’s scratch race, having led for the closing ten laps until just 20m from the finish line.

The night began with Callum Skinner proving he is still a force to be reckoned with by clocking 1:01.183 to take bronze in the kilometre time trial.

He was beaten by sub-60 second rides by Antipodean pair Matthew Glaetzer and Eddie Dawkins, but it was still a remarkable result considering he missed Saturday’s racing due to illness.

“I don’t want to go into it too deeply. I had a bit of a rough patch this week and I’m getting the support I need for it,” he said.

“I’ve had a few little results going along but I’m not at the pace I want to be at the moment. I’m not getting the results that I want.

“But to pick up little markers, to show we’re getting back to where we were before Rio, is good.

This is just another stepping stone towards Tokyo.”

And the home nations success continued in the women’s scratch race as Neah Evans won silver for Scotland, ahead of England’s Emily Kay.

The Scot on points race bronze the night before and improved on Sunday but could not do enough to beat an Australian trio that controlled the closing stages of the race and saw Amy Cure come through to take gold.

“I’m really happy,” said the Scot.

“I panicked a little bit because I worked quite hard to bring back Emily Nelson who got a sizeable gap.

“I was on the back foot when the Australians took the front. I was hoping to be more proactive, get to the front sooner and be more dominant, but the speed at which they rode made it really difficult to move up the field.

“I wasn’t in the position I was hoping to be in and it just came to a little bit of a carnage finish trying to get past people who couldn’t handle the speed – but it worked.”

While Kay was delighted to bag her maiden Commonwealth medal in the final track race of her first Games.

“I’m over the moon. I can’t wipe the smile off my face,” said the 22-year-old. “The past couple of days have been really tough and this was my last opportunity for a medal.

“I think I rode it quite well and nearly got taken out with two laps to go and thought that was my chance over.

“But I just found the gap and can’t believe I got third.”

The cycling action now turns to the road, with the men’s and women’s time trials in Gold Coast on Tuesday.

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