Jason’s chasing gold
SPORT Jason Dunford does not feel under pressure to repeat his heroics of Delhi 2010 as he bids to defend his Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Having won Kenya’s first Commonwealth gold four years ago, he is setting his sights on more silverware in Glasgow next week.
“I’m very excited about the Games,” he said. “It is always an honour to represent Kenya and these Games look like they are going to be a great experience.
“I have visited Edinburgh but never Glasgow so I look forward to seeing the city.”
Dunford, 27, is confident he can retain his 50m butterfly title. He will also compete in the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle.
“My preparations have gone very well,” he said. “I have been training better than ever before. I have increased my strength significantly over the past year and have been happy with my results from competitions in the build-up to the games.
“Now it is just about staying calm and getting my mind ready to compete. Of course, I’m very determined. It’ll be a tough field and I am not taking any- thing for granted. I’ll be happy if I can swim best times as that should put me among the medals.”
Dunford reached the Olympic final in London two years ago and is looking forward to his return to the UK. “I have not been back since,” he said. “However, I got married a couple of weeks ago and quite a few of my English friends from my time at Marlborough College came to California for the wedding. It was fantastic to get to celebrate with them.”
As yet, he has no plans to meet Glasgow’s Jewish community. “I am not really looking at anything away from the pool,” he said.
“My focus is firmly on the competition and as captain of the Kenya swim team, I have a r e s p o n s i b i l - ity to the other s w i m m e r s in inspiring t h e m a n d h e l p i n g them perform at their best.”
National champion Steve Solomon will line-up for the Australian 4x400m relay team. Having reached the 400m final at London 2012, the former Maccabiah athlete recently helped Stanford University win the NCAA indoor title in the same event and he arrives in Glasgow fully recovered from a hamstring strain.
Rob Levy is confident New Zealand’s judo squad will challenge for medals.
A 5th Dan who has represented New Zealand for more than 10 years, Levy has claimed medals at the US Open, Maccabiah Games and the Commonwealth Championships. He said: “We’ve got a blend of real experience and up-and-coming athletes who are really peaking for this event.
“We’ve got more depth and for the last two years we’ve absolutely dominated in Oceania.”
“If wecamehome withsomethinglike five medals, we’d be over the moon.”