Cycling siblings Katie and John Archibald made history at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane tonight as they became the first brother/sister pair to win medals for Team Scotland at the same Commonwealth Games.
Katie struck first, taking gold in the Women’s 3000m Individual Pursuit before her brother collected silver in the men’s equivalent, the 4000m Individual Pursuit, on a stunning day for the family from Milngavie.
Speaking after her gold medal success, Katie Archibald, said: “This feels overly special. It’s been a big target for some time to plant my name on an international stage. I have been National Champion, European Champion but I really wanted this. I wanted the prestige of an Individual Pursuit.”
Silver medallist, John Archibald, admitted to being inspired by his sister’s stellar showing.
“I watched her heat run and the pressure was on her. Her back was against the wall and she delivered on the day. That got me going.”
Katie Archibald booked her place in the gold medal race with a Games Record time of 3:24.119, breaking the two Games records set, and then bettered by her Australian opponents in the qualifying rounds.
The times lined up a head-to-head between Archibald and Australia’s Rebecca Wiasak, with Archibald delivering a sensational performance to take gold.
“I was going off my own schedule until that last kilometre and that’s when I knew I was down. You could tell by the crowd. We have such good crowds at home, so usually when you hear a roar you’re thinking ‘oh yeah this is good’. It’s a rarity to hear a roar and think ‘oh no!’ I have a problem. I just tried to overcome that to win.”
Like his sister before him, John secured his spot in the gold medal race in a Games Record time of 4:13.51, which remained intact for six further heats before England’s Charlie Tanfield clocked 4:11.435 to set-up the gold/silver encounter, with John coming in as runner-up.
John Archibald, who converted from Road to Track Cycling less than a year ago, was naturally delighted with the result.
“From six months ago to now has been a crazy journey so I’m really pleased. Eight or nine months ago I’d never touched a track bike. I stopped work and went full time into cycling in the last three or four months and gave everything towards it.
“Scottish Cycling backed me and gave me physio, nutrition, coaching – all the things you need to not worry about anything apart from your own performance. I’ve gone all blazing into it and luckily I’ve come away with something I’m really proud of.”
Elsewhere 20-year-old prospect Jack Carlin – who won silver in the Keirin at last year’s European U23 track championships – put in a powerful and mature display in the Men’s Keirin, finishing as the fastest qualifier in the first round of heats, and then second-fastest in the second to reach the final, where he crossed the line two tenths-of-a-seconds outside of the medals in fourth.
There was disappointment for Team Scotland’s Olympic medalist Callum Skinner, who didn’t finish in the top two from the first round, forcing him into the repechage, a fourth-placed finish there meant his day was over.
Mark Stewart and Kyle Gordon also raced the Men’s 4000m Individual Pursuit however excellent times of 4:20.245 and a six-second PB of 4:18.494 were not enough to make the top-four finals for medals, the pair finishing 11th and ninth in their heats respectively.
It’s been a long road for Gordon, who took a sabbatical from his job on an oil rig to pursue his Commonwealth dream, sacrificing both his income and the chance to watch his sister walk down the aisle tomorrow (Saturday 7 April).
Gordon said: “I’m absolutely delighted. The sacrifices I’ve made over the past seven months – leaving my job and getting help from friends and some locals. I also sacrificed my sister’s wedding, which is tomorrow, so thanks to her and congratulations on the big day. If it wasn’t for her letting me go then I wouldn’t have put in a PB time like that at the Commonwealth Games.”
Day three on the track is another huge day for Team Scotland cyclists with 12 of the 15-strong cross-disciplinary team competing at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane, Neah Evans and Eileen Roe featuring for the first time in the 2018 Games.