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Commonwealth Games: Second gold for NZ

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Update: 9:08AM Complete exhaustion mingled with unadulterated joy for New Zealand's Sam Webster after winning his second gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Webster snared New Zealand's first ever Games gold in the men's sprint, adding it to the team sprint triumph clinched alongside Ethan Mitchell and Eddie Dawkins a night earlier at the Games velodrome.

The 23-year-old won a thrilling sprint final 2-1 over England's Olympic champion Jason Kenny, dredging up one last burst in the final race to complete a gruelling two days.

"Rolling into today, my legs felt pretty rough after the big night last night," Webster said.

"In that last race there was nothing else going through my head other than empty the tanks."

Webster was physically sick soon after the last race, caused, he said, by "complete and utter fatigue".

He is the first non-Australian to win the high-profile event since 1966 and in the process becomes the first Kiwi to claim double gold at one Games in 12 years.

Squash player Leilani Joyce and weightlifter Nigel Avery achieved the feat at Manchester in 2002.

On a night in which Dawkins won the sprint bronze and Marc Ryan an individual pursuit bronze, it was Webster's calm under pressure and withering speed when needed which stood out.

He swept aside Dawkins 2-0 in the semi-final but, after winning the first race against Kenny, let his guard down in a tight second.

"Jason deserved that second win. The last race was about making him work.

"He'd had an extra ride in his legs and I had to execute my game plan because I knew I had the speed advantage."

Webster led from start to finish to hush a mostly pro-Kenny crowd.

Among the packed audience of 2500 was parents James and Meren, who he picked out soon after crossing the line - once he got his breath back.

"It was absolute joy, it's hard to describe."

A bronze medallist at the Delhi Games four years ago, Webster attributes his recent progress to a shift to Cambridge to train at BikeNZ's centralised base.

Dawkins, who lost 2-0 to a dominant Webster in the semi-finals, went on to sweep Australian Peter Lewis in the ride for third.

Earlier, Ryan secured the seventh bronze of his career at Commonwealth, Olympic and world championship level.

A time of four minutes 23.559 seconds effort was steady and enough to see off Welsh opponent Owain Doull.

Jack Bobridge beat Australian compatriot Alex Edmondson in the final to defend his Games title.

Jaime Nielsen was the best of New Zealand's three women in the 3000m individual pursuit, placing fifth in a personal best 3min 34.342sec.

England's Joanna Rowsell won gold from Australia's Annette Edmondson.

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