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Anna makes a mark

- Blow to England as Mo Farah pulls out

Glasgow: England’s Jodie Stimpson claimed the first gold medal at the Commonwealth Games with victory in the women’s triathlon on Thursday.

In an enthralling finish at the Strathclyde Country Park, the 25-year-old Stimpson managed to pull away from Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland to finish in one hour 58 minutes 56 seconds. England’s Vicky Holland took the bronze medal.

Alistair Brownlee continued England’s golden run, by winning the men’s triathlon. Olympic champion Brownlee, 26, was involved in a duel with younger brother Jonathan for much of the race, before pulling away. He finished first in 1 hour 48 minutes 50 seconds at the Strathclyde Country Park, 11 seconds ahead of his sibling. South Africa’s Richard Murray took bronze.

In cycling, Bradley Wiggins had to settle for the silver medal on his return to track cycling as England were beaten by Australia in the 4,000 metres team pursuit on Thursday.

Anna Meares claimed her fifth Commonwealth gold as she won the 500 metres time trial to move level with fellow Australian Bradley McGee as the most successful track cyclist in the Games. The 30-year-old Meares, Australia’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, clocked a Games record 33.43 seconds in the 500.

Compatriot Stephanie Morton took the silver while England’s Jessica Varnish grabbed bronze. New Zealand snatched gold in the team sprint final with a time of 43.18 seconds, beating an England team that included Olympic champions Jason Kenny and Philip Hines.

But in a blow to England, double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah withdrew from the Commonwealth Games due to fitness concerns, his team announced on Thursday.

The 5,000 and 10,000 metres Olympic and world champion was recently laid low by illness and has decided to pull out of the Glasgow event in order to work on his fitness ahead of next month’s European Championships in Zurich.

“I have taken the tough decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games,” Farah, 31, said in a statement released by Team England.

“I really wanted to add the Commonwealth titles to my Olympic and World Championships, but the event is coming a few weeks too soon for me as my body is telling me it’s not ready to race yet. Best wishes to my fellow athletes in Glasgow.”

Farah had been preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Font Romeu in southern France and he revealed that he will remain there in the build-up to the European Championships, which begin on August 12.

“The sickness I had two weeks ago was a big setback for me,” he added. “Training is getting better here in Font Romeu but I need another few weeks to get back to the level I was at in 2012 and 2013.”

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games shooting gold medallist Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim has been given a late reprieve to compete in Glasgow, after her missing competition jacket was found and sent to her in Scotland.

Malaysian Ayuni, who won gold with Nur Suryani Taibi in the 10 metre air rifle pairs in New Delhi four years ago, had been scratched from the 10 metre air rifle and 50m rifle prone events after the garment was lost en route and failed to arrive before Monday’s registration for competition.