Australian team secures second spot in Worlds medal count

Australia was one of only two nations to claim more than one victory at the World Track...

Australia was one of only two nations to claim more than one victory at the World Track Championships in Palma de Majorca this weekend. Behind Great Britain, the Aussies tallied the second highest medal count with two golds and four bronze medals.

The final two medals came from 24 year-old Kate Bates and 23 year-old Anna Meares. Bates collected gold in the 25km points race and Meares earned bronze in the keirin. Bates won her 100 lap event with 35 points, six clear of second placed Mie Lacota of Denmark with New Zealander Catherine Cheatley claiming the bronze with 27 points.

"I still can't believe it, I'm so excited I've finally got a stripey jersey," said an ecstatic Bates after being presented with her jersey and singing a hearty rendition of Advance Australia Fair from the top step of the podium. "I can't believe I've got it on."

Bates, a two time Commonwealth Games points race champion, was also excited about the prospect of buying a pair of Manola Blahnik shoes, made famous by the television program 'Sex and the City', a reward she promised herself only if she won a world title.

"I've earned them because I've never worked this hard before and I just can't believe it's paid off," said Bates who wore a gold stilleto pendant around her neck during the race. "My Auntie bought it for me and said 'one day you'll get the stripes honey but this is for you in the meantime'.

"I only wear it when I feel good because I don't want to curse it and today I had a feeling and aaaahhhh!"

For Bates the victory was even sweeter coming as it did after a disastrous start to the championships when the night before Friday's individual pursuit she fell victim to the stomach bug that swept through the Australian team and posted a disappointing performance.

"It hurt my pride after being so fit and then underperforming but it also spurred me on," she said. "I rested and I ate a lot of what I had lost in that day and to get this gold just shows that if you're determined enough you can do anything."

In the women's keirin, an exhausted Anna Meares won her way through to the final where she claimed third place behind Victoria Pendleton (Great Britain) and Shuang Guo (People's Republic of China). Meares had already won a bronze medal in the team sprint with Kristine Bayley, a bronze medal in the individual sprint, and a 500 metre time trial gold medal in a world record time.

The other medal of the championships for the Australians was a bronze for Katie Mactier in the 3km individual pursuit.

"Thank goodness for the girls, they were just tremendous," said Australian High Performance Director Shayne Bannan. "We've gone away with a lot to think about and we'll be sitting down to analyse this championships as we had always planned to do.

"We're going away from this with our feet on the ground and we know there's room for improvement but more importantly we know where that improvement needs to come from," Bannan explained. "It's about the process, about what we believe, about the team unity and about putting out plan together and sticking to it to get the results in Beijing.

"No Olympic medal is easy to win and if you go to an Olympics thinking otherwise you'll have problem so we're going to Beijing with a big challenge ahead of us and we're preparing for that challenge."

Click here for full coverage of the World Track Championships.

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