Protesters and politics fail to take shine off the Gold Coast games

The Australian swimmers have a tradition of setting the tone for the rest of the team at the Commonwealth Games, but the English made a faster start before the home team rallied with a big statement in the last event of the night. "My coach said 'The atmosphere out there is electric, go out, soak it up.' I think that is what we've done".

But the Australians will need to improve on their efforts in Friday's team final, when an attack of nerves and mistakes on the balance beam left them with the bronze medal, well behind Canada and England.

All three missed out on spots in the medal races.

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Horton became the first Australian since Ian Thorpe in 2002 to win the men's 400m freestyle and clinched the host nation's first gold of the Games before the relay team ended the session in a world record time.

Gold medals came in the men's and women's team pursuits and women's team sprint, but the highlight was undoubtedly the men's 4km team pursuit world record with a breathtaking gold medal ride of 3mins 49.8secs on the Anna Meares Velodrome.

Queensland locals Georgia Godwin and Georgia-Rose Brown will be chasing medals in Saturday evening's all-around gymnastics finals at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

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SO LONG SALLY: The morning after a prominent role in the opening ceremonies, world and former Olympic champion hurdler Pearson announced her withdrawal from the athletics competition because a long-standing Achilles injury had flared in training this week.

There were minor scuffles Wednesday as about 100 Aboriginal activists faced off against police outside the stadium hosting the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

Robertson said she wouldn't stop just at a bronze in what is her debut appearance at the Games.

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Canada finished second, with England third. I left no stone unturned to get out here and race for Australia in the 100m hurdles and the 4x100m relay", Pearson said."Everyone knows how much of a competitor I am and how much I love running for my country and my team-mates.

  • Jill Young