Commonwealth Games: Jack Laugher wins third consecutive gold with impressive display at Birmingham 2022

Elsewhere, Zoe Newson took para powerlifting gold after two Nigerian athletes were disqualified for turning up late

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England's Jack Laugher has successfully defended his diving title with a third consecutive gold in the 1m springboard competition at the Commonwealth Games.

Laugher, 27, who won gold in 2014 and again in 2018, was one of two flag-bearers for Team England at the opening ceremony in Birmingham 2022.

Defending his 1m title today, Laugher scored 447.05 to finish 10 points clear of Australia's Li Shixin who took the silver medal.

England's Jordan Houlden finished in third to pick up bronze, his first medal at a Commonwealth Games.

Jack Laugher
Jack Laugher

Elswhere, Nigeria’s perfect para powerlifting Commonwealth Games record was ended when two of their athletes were disqualified for turning up late for an event won by England’s Zoe Newson.

Tokyo Paralympic champion Latifat Tijani and Onyinyechi Mark were among the favourites to win women’s lightweight gold at Birmingham 2022.

The pair were disqualified after arriving 25 minutes late for the appointed kit check time, although the Nigeria Commonwealth Games Federation protested against the decision in saying they were unaware of the time agreed at a technical meeting in August.

A Birmingham 2022 statement read: “Two athletes from the Nigeria team were disqualified due to non compliance to Technical Rules 17.1.4 ‘athletes does not present out to the kit check in the scheduled time and/or with a form of identification, they will be disqualified (DSQ)’.

“The two athletes were present at 2.10pm, 25 minutes late from the scheduled kit check time 1.45pm.”

Zoe Newson
Zoe Newson

Nigeria press attache Oluwatoyin Ibitoye said Tijani and Mark had arrived at the NEC venue at 1.55pm – 65 minutes ahead of the scheduled 3pm start time and five minutes before what they felt was the cut-off point.

Ibitoye said: “The Federation has appealed because we feel the athletes came in on time.

“We haven’t seen any messages that we should be here at 1.45pm and on that basis we are making a protest.

“The contest has been won and lost, but it’s important for us to put things on record so next time there has to be better information.

“These sort of issues should be discussed at the technical meeting where everybody is present.”

The first rider off the ramp in the men’s time trial at the Commonwealth Games was a 48-year-old riding for Ghana who spends his working days as a doorkeeper at the House of Commons.

Chris Symonds was disappointed with his time of 62 minutes 56.79 seconds over the 37.4km course around Wolverhampton – 16-and-a-half minutes slower than winner Rohan Dennis – insisting it was some way off the sort of pace he has ridden in recent club time trials.

His preparation for these Games has been built around commuting 12 miles each way from north London to the Palace of Westminster every day on a regular bike.

“I’ve been a doorkeeper for 20 years, since Gordon Brown and David Cameron were Prime Minister,” Syymonds said. “We keep the doors to the chamber, to make sure people like you don’t get in.

“I’ve barred entry to a few famous people, but I’d better not say who.

“The journey into work is about 12 miles on a hybrid commuter bike – you try to work up a head of steam, but it’s not easy with all the traffic lights.”

Symonds was greeted in Wolverhampton by local MP Stuart Anderson, who wished him luck before Thursday’s race, and he rides with the likes of Finchley MP Mike Freer, though he would not be drawn on who were the fittest politicians.

“No comment,” he said. “I might make a few enemies if I get it wrong.”