Laura Kenny leaves heartache behind to lead England to Commonwealth team pursuit bronze

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Kenny returned the compliment, saying that riding alongside young talent – Knight, 25, won silver in the team pursuit with her in Tokyo, but Lewis and Leech are 20 and 19 respectively – had given her a new lease of life. In fact, she said the desire to help them win a first major medal had actually contributed to nerves comparable to “a gold medal ride at the Olympics”.

“I’ve never felt under so much pressure to win a bronze medal in my whole career,” Kenny said. “Just the fact that it’s such a young team.

“Obviously I’ve been really lucky in my career that I’ve had some brilliant experiences and I’ve been able to step up on that podium. And this is their first taste of it, for Maddie and Sophie. So honestly, going into that final, it could have been a gold medal ride at the Olympics, I was that nervous. 

“But it’s been brilliant. Being able to ride with these youngsters, they bring a completely different, fresh, really enjoyable environment, one that I would say I haven’t [experienced] for the last 18 months-two years, just because the pressure of the Olympics is massive.”

‘They’ll make me feel like a granny’

Watching on proudly was Kenny’s husband, seven-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny. Now a GB coach, he held her bike at the start of the race. It was another reminder of how far they have come. Ten years ago their romance became public knowledge when they were spotted canoodling at the beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade. Now they have a four-year son, Albie.

“Don’t ask them what they were doing in 2012,” Kenny laughed at one point when her team-mates, who she said had taken to calling her “Ken-dog”,  were asked where they were 10 years ago. “They’ll make me feel like a granny.”

Elsewhere in the velodrome, England’s quartet of Charlie Tanfield, Dan Bigham, Ethan Vernon and Ollie Wood took silver behind New Zealand in the men’s team pursuit, while England’s trio of Ryan Owens, Hamish Turnbull and Joe Truman took silver in the men’s team sprint.

Scotland’s Neil Fachie won the fifth Commonwealth gold medal of his career with victory in the Men’s tandem B 1000m time trial, joining lawn bowler Alex Marshall as the most successful Scottish athlete in Commonwealth history.

But even on a day when she did not stand on the top step of the podium, there was no doubting who the star of the opening day was.

Commonwealth Games 2022 day one – as it happened

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