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Commonwealth Games: Time-trial Gold for Kiwi cyclist Villumsen

New Zealand's Linda Villumsen went one better than four years ago when she won the gold medal in the women's cycling individual time-trial at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Thursday (July 31).

GLASGOW: New Zealand's Linda Villumsen went one better than four years ago when she won the gold medal in the women's cycling individual time-trial at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Thursday (July 31).

The silver medallist in New Delhi produced a storming finish to clock 42 minutes 25.46 seconds and pip England's Emma Pooley. Pooley, who is to retire after the Games, had to settle for silver while Australia's Katrin Garfoot took the bronze.

The women then gave way to the men's race where reigning Commonwealth Games champion, Scotland's David Millar, was looking to defend that title over the 40km circuit around Glasgow and surrounding areas. This marks his final season as a professional cyclist and he will be determined to finish his career in style.

Millar will face tough opposition from Alex Dowsett of England, who took silver in Dehli four years ago, and Welsh rider Geraint Thomas who arrives in Scotland on the back of claiming his highest ever finish of 22nd in the Tour de France. The Australian trio of Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge and Michael Hepburn will also be among the favourites for the title.

There was gold early on Thursday (July 31) also for South Africa in the lawn bowls para open triples, defeating New Zealand 13-11 in the final at Kelvingrove. It was the fourth lawn bowls gold to date for the South African team at the Games.

In field hockey, England's men moved through to an almost certain semi-final clash with champions Australia after a routine 3-1 win over Canada. Just needing to avoid a heavy defeat to seal their passage into the last four, two goals from Ashley Jackson and another from captain Barry Middleton put England 3-0 up before Canadian captain Scott Tupper fired home a late consolation.

New Zealand will ensure they finish top of Group B by avoiding defeat against Malaysia later on Thursday, whilst Australia can also round off a 100 percent record from Group A when they face hosts Scotland.

RUDISHA AND PEARSON CENTRE-STAGE

With no early track and field session at Hampden Park, the focus was all on the evening's action where Olympic champions David Rudisha and Sally Pearson were set to take centre stage with a total of seven gold medals up for grabs.

Kenya's Rudisha, who set a blistering world record when winning Olympic gold in London in 2012, will go in the 800m against arch-rival Nijel Amos of Botswana. "I'm happy to have qualified through the heat and the semi-finals. I am looking forward to the final. The final is my main competition and I am looking forward to it," said Rudisha.

In the absence of Usain Bolt, Jamaica's world silver and Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir and teammates Jason Livermore and Rasheed Dwyer will be hoping to emulate Kemar Bailey-Cole's victory in the men's 100m.

The men's 400m hurdles also features a strong line-up for the final, with Jehue Gordon gunning for Trinidad and Tobago's first track gold, but with South African Cornel Fredericks looking strong.

There are also finals in the men's discus, while the women also have the 400m hurdles and discus.

Australia's Olympic champion Sally Pearson will be hoping to put the controversy over suspended head coach Eric Hollingsworth behind her when she takes to the track for heats in the 100m hurdles. Hollingsworth was suspended on Wednesday (July 30) after disparaging comments about the star hurdler missing a pre-Games training camp.

In all 25 golds were up for grabs on Thursday. Five will be in gymnastics with finals in men's floor, women's vault, men's pommel horse, women's uneven bars and men's rings. Four are to be decided in wrestling and two in diving.

Weightlifting concludes with the men's +105kg where Australia's Damon Kelly defends his title against the favoured challenge of Nauru's Itte Detenamo who finished above the Australian at the 2012 Olympics. 

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