Big fish fall and minnows prevail at Games

Kgotla Kgaswane of Botswana competes during the Weightlifting Men's 56kg Final on day one of the...
Kgotla Kgaswane of Botswana competes during the Weightlifting Men's 56kg Final on day one of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre on April 5, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Bermuda topped the medal table, the Brownlees missed out, a world champion was disqualified and the face of the Games withdrew; it was an eventful opening day of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Bermuda's world champion triathlete, Flora Duffy, won the first gold of the Games and put her tiny island nation on top of the medal table, for a few hours at least, until India's powerful weightlifters claimed a gold and silver later yesterday.

"It's pretty cool," Duffy said after planting Bermuda on top when she raced away in the final run leg at Southport's Broadwater Parklands.

She knew it was going to be short-lived but Bermuda's chef de mission, Katura Horton-Perinchief, revelled in the glory.

"What an incredible honour, we're a nation of 64,000," Horton-Perinchief said.

A few hours later, India - population 1.3 billion - took over top billing when Chanu Saikhom Mirabai won the women's 48kg weightlifting gold.

While Duffy lived up to her world ranking, England's dominant Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny, both finished without a medal on a rare "terrible day" for the Yorkshiremen as South African Henri Schoeman won the men's triathlon gold.

Alistair has won the past two Olympic triathlon titles and the Glasgow Commonwealth gold in 2014, with little brother Jonny falling in behind him to claim two silvers and a bronze.

But after leading following the swim and bike legs, both faded badly in the run to finish in uncharted territory back in 10th and seventh respectively.

"It was pretty terrible today," Jonny said.

They were not the only ones to have bad days.

Their countryman Ben Proud and Gold Coast girl Sally Pearson are probably feeling likewise.

World 50m butterfly champion Proud had been expected to help spearhead England's quest to topple Australia's No1 ranking in the pool but was disqualified from the morning heats for moving on the starting blocks.

He won the race by nearly a body length - and in the fastest heats time - but was disqualified post-race by officials.

"I am in the shape of my life and am gutted to miss out on the opportunity to show what I can do," Proud said.

Olympic gold medallist and world hurdles champion Pearson was forced out of her hometown Games by a persistent Achilles injury that flared again this week, costing the Australian favourite a chance of three successive Commonwealth golds.

Games officials had bigger concerns to address yesterday, rejecting suggestions Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall appeared bored as she read a magazine during Wednesday's opening ceremony.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin angrily disputed the claims, saying the duchess was tired and still jet-lagged after a packed programme.

Eleven-year-old table tennis prodigy Anna Hursey tasted victory in her first outing at the Games. The youngest athlete there, she partnered with Welsh doubles partner Charlotte Carey yesterday to claim a 3-2 win over Indian pair Madhurika Patkar and Mouma Das in the preliminary rounds of the team competition.

It was Wales' only victory in the tie, however, as India claimed the best-of-five meeting 3-1.

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