Laugher lands second Commonwealth Games gold despite fitness concerns

• English diver insists he is still ‘not back to full fitness’
• Annie Last wins gold; women face hockey play-off with India

Jack Laugher’s rivals must worry about what he could achieve at full fitness after the Englishman won a second Commonwealth gold medal despite, by his own admission, not being in peak condition.

The diver comfortably won the 3m springboard title after emerging victorious on the 1m board despite struggling to recover from a plethora of injuries in the build-up to the Games. He is also well poised to make it a hat-trick of gold medals alongside his partner Chris Mears in the 3m synchronised event in which they are the Olympic champions.

Laugher finished with 519.40 points, ahead of Canada’s Philippe Gagné and James Connor of Australia, to improve on the silver medal he won at Glasgow four years ago.

“I’m really proud, especially coming off of Glasgow and a heart-breaking second place,” he said. “I’ve worked really hard with my strength and conditioning team, my diving coach and my physios, to get me in great shape for here. I’m still struggling, I’m not back to full fitness. It wasn’t a great build‑up, but to have a great competition and a great start to the international season, I’m really happy.”

Laugher’s girlfriend, Lois Toulson, won bronze in the 10m individual event, moreover.

The day started well for Team England’s women as Annie Last took gold ahead of a compatriot, Evie Richards, in the mountain biking. Last overtook Richards before the 9km mark in the 27km race, going on to win in 1:18.02.

It was a first senior title for the 27-year-old, who has deferred her medical studies to pursue a cycling career. She showed promise as a youngster with eighth place at the London Olympics before sustaining injuries and failing to qualify for Rio four years later.

“It was absolutely amazing,” she said of her gold. “The race went really smoothly. My legs were good and it all just came together.”

But the England Women’s hockey team, which contains many of the personnel who won gold for Great Britain in Rio with a penalty shootout victory, did not fare so well this time. They were defeated in the semi‑final by New Zealand, who triumphed 2-1 in the penalty shootout. England will now play India in the bronze medal match on Saturday.

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Martha Kelner on the Gold Coast

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