Sam Webster (right) of New Zealand in action against England's Jason Kenny in the men's individual sprint final at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Friday. - AFP
GLASGOW: New Zealand need not only be proud of their rugby team in the Commonwealth Games.
Their cycling track team are also on a roll and Malaysia had better keep an eye on them.
On Friday, the New Zealanders showed their quality when Sam Webster rode splendidly to clinch the gold medal in the men’s individual sprint event, beating England’s Jason Kenny in a thrilling final at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.
He won two of the three races to underline his prowess.
In the bronze medal playoff, Edward Dawkins was also in his element, beating Australia’s Peter Lewis for the bronze medal.
On the opening day, New Zealand showed that their win at the World Championships in Mexico earlier this year was not a fluke when their men’s sprint team triumphed again by taking the gold after beating England.
Team official Ian Hepenstall said that there was a lot more to come from this New Zealand team, who embarked on a new and focused sprint cycling programme six years ago.
“It is the first sport to have a sprint programme that is really focused and centralised in our country. We started this after the Beijing Olympics in 2008,” said Hepenstall.
“The good news is that the boys who won here are all in their early 20s and we have another whole gang coming up behind. This is quite exciting as we build up towards the Rio Olympics (2016).
“We have also built a new velodrome and all our training are centralised there. It is just six months old. There are good times coming!”
Meanwhile, in the race to determine the fifth to eighth placing, Malaysia’s Azizulhasni Awang ended up seventh.