Tom Cornish has headlined NSW’s opening day of Track Nationals with a sub-minute performance in the 1,000m Time Trial to complete a hat-trick of titles.
Yesterday, the 21-year-old Australian Cycling Team athlete from Southern Cross CC posted a blistering personal best of 59.598 to win his third gold medal in three years at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane.
It was Cornish’s first sub-60 second result after coming incrementally closer since setting the junior world record in 2018, and – visibly emotional after his race – the accomplishment meant a lot to him.
“I’ve been working on a while on this,” Cornish said immediately afterwards, still breathless. “I have no words, really.”
Although Cornish’s performance eclipses the time of Scott Sunderland published on AusCycling’s website as the Australian record, it falls just short of Matthew Glaetzer’s time of 59.340 set at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
NSW’s under-19 team sprint women also claimed gold. The trio of Georgia Bonora (who is on her Nationals debut), Tyler Puzicha and Kalinda Robinson clocked 52.157 to beat Queensland in the straight final by one second.
Dylan Eather provided NSW’s third gold medal of the night, winning the under-19 men’s scratch race. Eather sprinted to victory on the final lap after a controlled, tight race in which Ryland Short and Andre Dubier had also made enterprising moves off the front for NSW.
The under-19 men’s team sprinters had qualified fastest in 47.080, but were just overhauled by South Australia in the final. Daniel Samuel, Daniel Barber and Ryan Britten collected a silver medal for NSW.
Earlier in the day, the title defence for the Elite Men’s team pursuit resulted in a bronze medal, after Ben Harvey, Kurt Eather, Daniel Gandy and Devraj Grewal qualified third with 4:02.258, just one-hundredth of a second from the top-two. They matched that time in a bronze medal ride, with Rohan Haydon-Smith substituting for Grewal.
The under-19 women’s team pursuit suffered a setback when Sarah Cliff was required to self-isolate pending the results of a COVID test. Sprinter Puzicha was called in late as a replacement, and together with Haylee Fuller, Rebel Brooker and Emily Strumfin the team posted 4:51.465, missing the gold medal ride-off but collecting the bronze.
However, after receiving her negative result, Cliff bounced straight back in the evening session to take bronze in the scratch race.
Georgia Whitehouse and Emily Watts rode the Elite Women's team pursuit as part of a composite interstate team, which set the second-best time of 4:31.619 but was ineligible for medals.
Words and photos by Ryan Miu