Glasgow 2014: Jodie Stimpson captures triathlon gold for England

By Tom FordyceChief sports writer at Strathclyde Country Park

England's Jodie Stimpson stormed to the first medal of the 2014 Commonwealth Games as she took triathlon gold with her compatriot Vicky Holland in bronze.

Stimpson timed her surge on the final 10km run leg perfectly to pull away from Canada's Kirsten Sweetland 300m from the line and make up for her Olympic disappointment two years ago.

The 25-year-old from Oldbury had missed out on a place at London 2012 through a controversial British selection policy but won England's first ever Commonwealth triathlon medal with a dominant piece of front-running to finish in one hour 58 minutes 56 seconds.

Sweetland took silver and Holland hung on for bronze in a race that provided a thrilling start to these Glasgow Games just 10 hours after the spectacular opening ceremony.

Triathlon gold medallist Jodie Stimpson
"All my family are already crying, it's awesome they got to see me in a championship race after missing the Olympics in 2012."

The exhausted English pair crawled over to hug each other as the unexpectedly hot conditions and fierce racing took their toll.

The summer heat was so intense that the opening 1500m swim in Strathclyde Loch was made non-wetsuit, and England's Lucy Hall went out hard early to tow team-mates Stimpson and Holland with her, just as they had planned.

Within the first lap of the 40km bike a group of 10 had come together that also included Northern Ireland's Aileen Reid as well as double world champion Emma Moffatt and her Australian team-mate Emma Jackson.

On a tough, hilly course no breaks could stay away, and it became apparent from some way out that the gold medal would come down to the 10km run.

Stimpson set a telling pace and within 2km the large group had whittled down to just six, Hall and Moffatt dropping off as New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt came through.

Commonwealth Games triathlon winners
Delhi 2010Not held
Melbourne 2006Emma Snowsill (Aus)1:58:02
Manchester 2002Carol Montgomery (Can)2:03:17

With 4km to go Reid was the next to drift away and, as they came through transition for the final time, Stimpson tried to stretch the pace further, dropping the dangerous Jackson and hurting Hewitt.

Holland could not keep the pace and, as the runners turned for the final long drag towards the finishing blue carpet, neither could Sweetland.

Stimpson's gold was later matched by Yorkshire's Alistair Brownlee, who beat his brother Jonny into second place in the men's race.

But after Stimpson was denied a crack at gold in London two years ago when the British selectors opted to pick two domestiques to aid medal contender Helen Jenkins rather than a team of three individuals, her moment of triumph in Strathclyde Country Park is likely to be savoured.

She said: "Get in England! Come on! Now the boys have got to do it.

"All my family are already crying, it's awesome they got to see me in a championship race after missing the Olympics in 2012.

"The support from the crowd was awesome. No matter what country you were from they were behind you."

Holland, an outsider for the podium before the race began, produced one of her finest performances to take the bronze.

She said: "I knew Jodie would be the biggest threat in the field and I am really pleased she won, not just because she is English but because she really deserves it.

"My legs were failing me towards the end - it was so hard to hold and win this medal I've worked so long for."

Jodie Stimpson in action in the triathlon
Stimpson said it was "awesome" her family got to see her win after missing the Olympics in 2012
Jodie Stimpson in action in the triathlon
The 25-year-old had missed out on a place at London 2012 through a controversial British selection policy
England's Jodie Stimpson (left) in action at the Commonwealth triathlon
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to triumph in the Glasgow sunshine
Jodie Stimpson on the podium with her gold medal with Kirsten Sweetland of Canada with silver and Vicky Holland of England with bronze
Stimpson's gold could be matched by Alistair and Jonny Brownlee in the men's race

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