Rockhampton golden girl to bear flag at Commonwealth Games

Rockhampton cyclist Anna Meares hopes to add more medals to her collection at the Commonwealth Games.
Rockhampton cyclist Anna Meares hopes to add more medals to her collection at the Commonwealth Games. Tom Huntley

ROCKHAMPTON golden girl Anna Meares has been selected as the flag bearer for the Australian team at the Commonwealth Games.

The games kick off on Thursday.

Meares needs just one more medal to equal Kathy Watt's record tally of seven Commonwealth medals.

While she might be close enough to touch it, Meares said she is not focused on drawing level with, much less surpassing, the 1992 Olympic Road gold medallist's total.

"I remember watching Kathy Watt at a Commonwealth Games as an 11-year-old and being inspired.

Now, here I am 20 years later," Meares said at Australia's opening Team press conference at Glasgow 2014.

"(The record) is very special, but it's not my focus," Meares said. "I have to beat some tough competition here to surpass that."

Australian Chef de Mission, Steve Moneghetti led the impressive line-up of cycling stars which also included defending men's sprint champion Shane Perkins, and rising stars Stephanie Morton and Matthew Glaetzer.

Track cycling is one of the 11 sports which will get competition at the XXth Commonwealth Games underway on 24 July. Aquatics (swimming), Badminton, women's Rhythmic Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Squash, Table Tennis and Weightlifting are the others.

Meares, who won three gold medals in Delhi four years ago, will compete in the sprint and 500 metres time trial in the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome here.

Among her toughest rivals will be teammate and roommate Stephanie Morton.

"When we step on the track we compete and when we step off we are mates," Meares said of Morton. The two are roommates in the Games Village.

Perkins almost missed defending his title due to a back injury. He said Meares recovery from a broken neck suffered in February, 2008 to a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics was an inspiration.

"It was touch and go actually coming here," Perkins said.

"What has pushed me through ... is having teammates like Anna around me."

The London Olympic bronze medallist arrived in Glasgow a day after the rest of the cycling team as he received treatment on the bulging disc he suffered at June training session.

As well as defending the individual sprint title, Perkins hopes to contest the team sprint and keirin.

Topics:  anna meares commonwealth games

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