The British fans had every reason to remain joyous all through the day on Tuesday. Their prayers, after being virtually washed out on Monday, brought them wave after wave of cheer at the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee pool.
On a day which had four gold medals up for grabs, the British camp found itself celebrating thrice as England struck two and Scotland one, even as Australia took the remaining one.
The host camp too had something to celebrate on the second day of the swimming competitions of the Commonwealth Games, as Virdhawal Khade stormed into the final of the men's 50m butterfly, slated for Wednesday, thus creating history as the first Indian swimmer to make the final in an individual event.
The Kolhapur lad, in his late teens, had progressed into the semifinals, placing as the eighth-best qualifier from the six heats held in the morning. He was timed at 24:72s then. In the evening, Khade did one better as he finished seventh overall clocking 24.38s and finishing fourth in the first semifinal.
On Wednesday, carrying the expectations of the entire country against a field containing an array of established stars, Khade will have his task cut out.
“I feel great, having worked very hard right through the season. I don't want to think about the final right now. It is certainly going to be a classy field. But I will not be found lacking in commitment. I shall fight all the way and to the best of my ability, leaving the rest to God,” he said.
Sejwal places 13th
The Indian skipper Sandeep Sejwal too was in the thick of action as he competed in the semfinals of the 100m breaststroke.
And though the Delhi swimmer virtually tore through the water in the first half of the race, towards the end he simply faded away and was only ranked 13th overall after finishing seventh in the second semifinal at 1:03.13.
That semifinal was an interesting affair for another reason as well, with winner Christian Sprenger (Australia), who had sliced off the old Games record in the heats, recapturing the meet mark which was stolen from him by New Zealander Glenn Synders, the winner of the first semifinal.
Francesca Halsall did not create any such problems for the recorders. But then, the huge upset that this 20-year-old caused cannot be overlooked in any way.
Her gold medal was the most glittering among the two that England pocketed — her narrow win in the 50m butterfly came at the expense of World champion Marieke Guehrer, 26.24s to 26.27s.
World champion Liam Tancock's win in the men's backstroke was along expected lines but not that of Scotland's Robert Renwick who made up for his lapses in the 400m freestyle final on Monday with a terrific last gasp effort in the 200m freestyle this evening.
Australia's lone gold came through Leiston Pickett in the women's 50m breaststroke — a win which has now eclipsed the chances of veteran Leisel Jones's target of overtaking the haul of 10 gold medals by compatriots Ian Thorpe and Susan O'Neil.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games 2010