Brownlee brothers kick-start Commonwealth medal chase

LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Jonny and Alistair Brownlee were both medalists at the Olympics in London; left: teenager Rebekah Tiler is among the Commonwealth Games weightlifting favourites; below: Sian Morgan of Ilkley is representing Wales in the swimming pool

LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Jonny and Alistair Brownlee were both medalists at the Olympics in London; left: teenager Rebekah Tiler is among the Commonwealth Games weightlifting favourites; below: Sian Morgan of Ilkley is representing Wales in the swimming pool

First published in Sport

AFTER the euphoria of the London Olympics two years ago, the spotlight today switches to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Otley cyclist Lizzie Armitstead was the first medal winner for Great Britain in 2012 with silver in the road race – and leading the charge on day one of competition in Scotland are the Brownlee brothers from Bramhope in the triathlon.

Jonny Brownlee has vowed to take the race to elder brother Alistair.

Between 2010 and May 2014, 24-year-old Jonny finished in the top three in every race, winning Olympic bronze and the world title in 2012.

But in back-to-back World Triathlon Series races in Yokohama and London, he could only finish fifth. It was a blow but also a blessing.

Jonny goes into the Games on a podium streak of one after finishing third in Hamburg earlier this month and he is ready to throw everything into trying to beat Olympic champion Alistair.

"In a way, I quite like not having a podium streak because it was playing on my mind," said the Bingley Harriers ace.

"It was a lot of pressure. I stood on the start line and there were lots of other people who didn't have anything to lose, whereas I had a podium streak to lose.

"That definitely affected me in races. I wouldn't chase a break because I was thinking, 'If I sit here, I'll still come third'.

"Hopefully now I can race more aggressively and enjoy racing again. It's back to the pure side of racing and just racing to win."

Meanwhile, teenage weightlifting sensation Rebekah Tiler is not putting herself under too much pressure as she counts down the days to her event on Monday.

"Any medal will do – I am only young yet," said the 15-year-old from Denholme.

"There are only two lifters ahead of me in the women's 69kg category rankings, so any colour medal will be fine."

The Bingley Grammar School student, who arrived in the Games Village as long ago as last Thursday, is certainly going well in training.

"I did a 97kg snatch on Tuesday and a 120kg clean and jerk, which was more than I was hoping for," she said.

"I reckon on Monday I can do a 100kg snatch and a 125kg clean and jerk.

"But there are 23 competitors in my category and the Nigerians are looking strong and so are the Canadians."

Apart from the Brownlees, who will be in action again on Saturday in the first Games mixed team relay final, also competing today is Ilkley swimmer Sian Morgan, who is representing Wales in the 4x100 metres freestyle relay.

Monday brings two more locals into the spotlight – Sarah Holt of Cleckheaton in the women's hammer and Pudsey gymnast Nile Wilson in the men's artistic category.

Morgan is back in the pool on Tuesday for the 4x100m medley relay, when Wilson continues his quest to bridge the gap between junior success and senior glory, which also takes in Wednesday Thursday and Friday

Keeping Morgan company on Tuesday in the Welsh corner will be Bradford wrestler Tommy Hawthorn in the men's 74kg class, while Racheal Bamford of Otley Athletics Club tests herself in the women's 3000 metres steeplechase on Wednesday.

Highlights of the final weekend will hopefully be former Bradford College student Nicola Adams contesting the women's 51kg boxing final on Saturday.

Armitstead could then be seeking gold on the Sunday, when Tom Moses of Keighley and Burley-in-Wharfedale rider Scott Thwaites will be in action in the men's road race.

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