England into women's basketball final at Commonwealth Games

April 13, 2018 - 6:36 am

GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — Rachael Vanderwal scored 20 points to lead England to a 65-53 win over Canada and a spot in the Commonwealth Games women's basketball final.

The English side will play the winner of Friday's later semifinal between Australia and New Zealand in Saturday's gold medal final. England had a 14-12 lead after the first quarter but outscored the Canadians 19-5 in the second quarter.

At the games track, two-time Olympic champion Caster Semenya of South Africa was set to run the 800 meters later Friday. She's already won the 1,500 here.

Earlier Friday, the banning of two Indian competitors for breaching the 'no-needles' policy at the athletes village and the arrest of some protesters overshadowed the start of the day.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin said triple jumper Rakesh Babu and race walker Irfan Kolothum Thodi had been banned from the games and ordered to return home immediately. Needles had been found in the room they shared at the village.

Babu had qualified for the triple jump final and was due to compete on Saturday. Thodi finished 13th in the 20-kilometer race walk last Sunday.

Up to five protesters were arrested and one man was in the hospital following a confrontation with police at an open shopping mall at Broadbeach, which is hosting numerous cultural activities relating to the games.

A group of indigenous activists had earlier been attempting to disrupt a live broadcast of the Seven Network's Sunrise program. In March, the program aired a segment on the welfare of indigenous children that has angered Aboriginal leaders who described it as racist. Activists have staged protests during the games to highlight the issues of Aboriginal people, who are the most disadvantaged ethnic group in Australia by most measures from health, to employment and rates of imprisonment.

In other news Friday from around the games:

DEBUT FOR WOMEN'S RUGBY SEVENS

Women's rugby sevens made its Commonwealth Games debut, and players from the top four teams at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 won their opening matches. Olympic champion Australia beat Wales 34-5, silver medalist New Zealand overwhelmed Kenya 45-0 and bronze medalist Canada beat South Africa 29-0. England, which formed part of the Britain team which lost to Canada for bronze at Rio, beat Fiji 17-5.

Men's rugby sevens has been played at the Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur in 1998, but Gold Coast marks the first time that the women's game has been included in the program.

GOLD FOR DALEY

Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow won gold for England in the men's 10-meter platform synchro with 405.81 points. Another England pair, Matthew Dixon and Noah Williams, took silver with 399.99 points.

Earlier this week, Daley, a former world champion in the platform and bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympics, withdrew from the individual platform event because of a recurring hip injury.

TEEENAGE SHOOTER

A 15-year-old Indian shooter hit 30 of 40 targets to set a games record in winning gold in the men's 25-meter rapid-fire pistol.

Continuing his country's dominance at Belmont, the shooting venue located in outer Brisbane, Anish Bhanwala, the youngest member of his country's games team, earned India its sixth shooting gold.

Anish may have to pack his school books in the coming months. Next up on his competition schedule will be the shooting world championships in South Korea in May, followed by the Asian Games in Indonesia in August.

FOUR GOLDS

Rhythmic gymnast Diamanto Evripidou of Cyprus won two more gold medals to give her four for the games. The 18-year-old Evripidou had already won gold medals in the team event and individual all-around, and added the hoops and ball to her collection. She was prevented from winning a record six golds when Canada's Sophie Crane won the clubs and Kwan Dict Weng of Malaysia took gold in the ribbons.

Evripidou has broken both her legs in separate training or competition incidents over the past two years.

"It means everything," she said of her all-around gold. "All those years that I worked through all the injuries and everything. It really means a lot."

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