Tenacious is one word that could describe Laura Trott (England) and her gold-medal-winning performance at the Commonwealth Games. Trott pipped Elinor Barker (Wales) to victory in the points race after suffering from a kidney infection on the opening day of the games.
The illness made victory all the sweeter for the two-time Olympic Champion. “After the week I’ve had, it’s right up there with the Olympics. I am so over the moon,” she said, hardly able to contain the smile that had spread across her face. “To win was so unbelievable for me and the crowd was just amazing. When it came up that I’d won and they went mad, I was so happy.”
The result was so close that Trott believed it was Barker who had taken the gold. “I went alongside Ellie and said well done Commonwealth champion and it came up and I thought oh crap, she’s going to think I said that on purpose,” she laughed.
On Thursday morning, Trott was diagnosed with a kidney infection, after suffering back pains the night before. However, after putting in all the training she was reticent to throw it all away and chose to race on regardless. After living off porridge for the last two days, the English rider struggled initially, but slowly came good at the right time.
It was evident early on that Trott was up for the fight and her ailments were no longer troubling her. The 22-year-old took points in three of the first five sprints, before she went on to take a lap of the field – along with eight other riders. Trott went into the final sprint, a point behind Barker. She buried herself to beat Barker across the line and take one more point than the Welsh rider. Her better finishing position was the final piece in place to seal the gold for Trott, who was thankful she hadn’t decided to pack it all in.
“I was here and I put in all the hard work. I knew I was going well, because of all the training that I’ve been doing, so I didn’t want to give in,” said Trott. “This morning I woke up and I was actually hungry, I wanted food. I thought, this is going to be a good day. I had a good feed, I rested as much as a could and it paid off.”
Trott’s gold was the third for the English team and put a happy note on what was an under-par performance. Great Britain’s head coach Shane Sutton heaped praise on his rider after the race. “You’re looking at an iconic double Olympic champion, and she’s young and she has to embrace that. She finds that tough sometimes,” he said.
“She won that race, she was fourth wheel going out of turn two and she’d lost that race. You’d just seen that little girl bend her back down that back straight. That’s the difference between good and great. You can see it on the video, she bent her back and she knew that she had to get past Elinor and that’s the difference.”