GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - Matthew Glaetzer’s rollercoaster Commonwealth Games finished on a high on Sunday as the Australian cyclist clinched the 1,000m time trial gold a day after crashing out early in the sprint event.
The 25-year-old Adelaide native set a Games record time of 59.340 seconds at the Anna Meares Velodrome, edging New Zealander Edward Dawkins (59.928), with Scotland’s Callum Skinner taking the bronze.
Raging favourite to win the sprint, world champion Glaetzer was shattered after crashing out in the preliminaries on Saturday, a tactical error allowing Malaysia’s Muhammad Sahrom, the slowest of the last 16 riders, to mount a huge upset.
Yet Glaetzer had already shown an impressive capacity to bounce back, having taken the keirin gold on Friday a day after a disappointing bronze in the men’s team sprint with the favoured Australians.
“It stretched me this week, it was a bit of a rollercoaster,” he said.
“I mean, rough start with the team sprint, then elation the other day and then devastation, then up again. It’s hard to deal with it emotionally. I’m definitely better for it.”
Glaetzer’s shock loss in the sprint was splashed across Australian newspapers on Sunday and he had to shut negative thoughts from his mind as he headed back to the venue.
“If you speak life into the situation then you improve,” said the devout Christian.
“The whole team got around me, support staff and parents, and a bit of prayer as well to get my headspace in the right area to feel like my best.
“I put a smile on my face. Yes, I lost the cycle race yesterday and that was gut-wrenching but life does go on, the sun rises the next day.”
The host nation, a cycling powerhouse, finished the four-day tournament strongly, claiming three of the four golds on the final night.
Sprint champion Stephanie Morton won the women’s keirin, bringing her haul to three golds and a silver for the Games.
Her team mate Kaarle McCulloch, who beat Morton for the 500 metres time trial gold on Saturday, grabbed silver ahead of New Zealand’s bronze medal winner Natasha Hansen.
Local rider Amy Cure won the 10km scratch race gold ahead of runnerup Scot Neah Evans and England’s Emily Kay.
Mark Stewart capped off the event by winning the men’s 40km points race gold for Scotland.
Australia finished the track cycling with 10 gold medals in the able-bodied events, with Scotland and New Zealand taking two titles each.
Editing by Toby Davis