Leisel Jones is on a historic mission. And on Wednesday, the Aussie mermaid took a vital step in achieving what she has set out for, winning the 200m breaststroke title of the Commonwealth Games for a third time in-a-row at the Dr. S.P. Mukherjee pool.
The 25-year-old now has this rare chance to charter a new high by becoming the first athlete to win two events thrice in the history of the Games.
Jones was overshadowed by world-record holder Annamay Pierce (Canada) for the better part of the race until she led Australia to a clean sweep of the event, changing gears towards the end of the third lap and then staying put at the pole before winning at 2:25.38.
Only compatriot Petria Thomas, the butterfly legend, had won three straight gold medals so far.
Tessa Wallace and Sarah Katsoulis finished in that order behind Jones, even as Pierce was pipped by Martha McCabe for the fourth place. Jones, naturally, was excited: “It is awesome. I am speechless,” she gushed.
On the whole, it was a great day for Australia as it accounted for all the four gold medals to be decided in the women's section and then added one more to its bulging tally through its men's quartet in the 4x200m freestyle.
This included the first golden double of the pool. Alicia Coutts took the 100m freestyle gold medal ahead of favourite Fran Halsall of England. The 100m back stroke title was won by Emily Seebohm and the foursome of Kylie Palmer, Blair Evans, Bronte Barrat and Meagen Nay registered an easy win in the 800m freestyle relay; the latter two with new Games record to boot.
In the men's action, the three individual titles on offer were shared by James Goddard (England), Cameron van der Burgh (South Africa) and Jason Dunford (Kenya), winning the 200m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 50m butterfly respectively and each with new meet record timings.
India's Virdhawal Khade, who figured in the butterfly sprint, could finish only a poor seventh at 24.61s. The Indian teams, which figured in the 800m relay of either section, failed to make any impact after finishing last in both the events.
In synchronised swimming, Canada staked its claim to a double gold, as it led in both the solo and duet events after the technical routine. The free routine is to be held on Thursday.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games 2010