De Rozario charges to Games marathon gold

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Wheelchair racing star Madison de Rozario has shrugged off the pressure of a title defence to add another Commonwealth Games marathon gold to her already-glittering resume.

There was a sense of inevitability about Saturday's T53/54 marathon and, true to form, De Rozario claimed the opening event of the 2022 Games athletics competition in one hour and 56 minutes.

De Rozario is favoured to complete the T53/54 marathon/1500m double for a second straight Commonwealth Games.

The 28-year-old won the marathon and the 800m at the Tokyo Paralympics and has also claimed three world para-athletics championships titles.

"We talk about defending titles but we try so hard in my performance team to keep each race in a bubble. You try so hard to not let previous successes or previous failures colour what you're about to do and that can be really, really challenging," she said.

"Sometimes the confidence is too much and you kind of get ahead of yourself and sometimes it's too much in the way that it's debilitating pressure instead, and so we try and step away from all of that

"But it's definitely a little motivator when you know what it feels like to be on top of that podium, you obviously want it that little bit more."

Eden Rainbow-Cooper took silver and fellow Englishwoman Shelly Oxley-Woods was third ahead of Australian Christie Dawes.

There was no bronze medal awarded as there were only four starters.

"Regardless of the size of the field it's an incredibly elite field," De Rozario said, stressing she believed the talent pool would grow.

De Rozario will now turn her focus to Thursday's 1500m and admitted to some nerves, given her minimal trackwork since Tokyo and the reversed racing schedule.

"I'm not used to having to back up the marathon with a track race, I've certainly never done it before. But none of us have," she said.

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