English diver Jack Laugher defends gold at Commonwealth Games

BIRMINGHAM, England -- English diver Jack Laugher extended his dominance in the one-meter springboard event Thursday to take a third straight gold at the Commonwealth Games.

The 27-year-old Laugher, who was England's flag bearer at the opening ceremony last week, continued a run that also included gold in Glasgow in 2014 and on Australia's Gold Coast four years ago.

He had been below his best in the morning's preliminary rounds but hit peak form from midway through the six rounds to take control and later credited the threat posed by Australian diver Shixin Li for inspiring him.

Laugher, who won Olympic gold in the 3-meter synchronized event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, posted a total of 447.05 points to defeat Li by 10 points. England's Jordan Houlden claimed the bronze.

"I was under loads of pressure, trying to defend that title, which I've had for eight years now," Laugher said.

Cyclist Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France winner, crashed early in the individual time trial in Wolverhampton, striking a barrier when making a sweeping turn. Thomas was able to remount his bike and recovered well to claim the bronze medal behind winner Rohan Dennis, a double time trial world champion.

"I just went into the corner a bit too hot. (I have) only myself to blame. I went at it too hard after that, with all the adrenaline," Thomas said.

Dennis made it a clean sweep for Australia in the individual time trial after Grace Brown claimed the women's event earlier on Thursday.

In athletics, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah returned to Alexander Stadium just over 12 hours after her triumph in the 100 meters on Wednesday. A double Olympic champion in the 200, she qualified second fastest for Friday's semifinals in an easy heat win in 22.80 seconds.

LaQuan Nairn of the Bahamas won the men's long jump ahead of India's Murali Sreeshankar. Both leaped 8.08 meters, but the gold medal was awarded to Nairn as his second jump was further than that of Sreeshankar.

The track and field events in Birmingham have been hit by a number of withdrawals.

The proximity of the event to the world championships in Oregon in late July and other major meetings saw Jamaican sprinting star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce opt against racing.

But injury and illnesses are also causing issues, with Australia's team hit by the withdrawal of three medal contenders.

Stewart McSweyn, a finalist in the 1,500-meter final in Tokyo, did not take his place in qualifying heats in the morning session due to influenza. Kathryn Mitchell, the gold medalist in javelin on the Gold Coast four years ago, has also been ruled out of competing in Birmingham.

Athletics Australia said Mitchell was suffering from an unknown virus she picked up when traveling from the United States.

Earlier, Jamaica caused a major upset in netball when it beat gold medal favorite Australia to reach the semifinals with a 57-55 comeback win.

Jamaica captain Jhaniele Fowler, who plays in Australia's domestic competition for the Perth-based West Coast Fever, scored 47 goals from 50 attempts.

"It's a bit surreal to beat Australia in a Commonwealth Games," Fowler said. "We've not done that before, but this team of ours is incredible and we went out there and proved everyone wrong and it feels so good."

The netball semifinals are set for Saturday, with New Zealand playing Jamaica and England taking on Australia.

In men's field hockey, Australia, which has yet to concede a goal in the tournament, beat Pakistan 7-0 to set up a semifinal with England. India and South Africa will play in the other semifinal. Both men's semis are set for Saturday with the final on Monday.

The women's field hockey semifinals are scheduled for Friday, with New Zealand playing England and Australia taking on India.

In women's cricket, India qualified for the semifinals with a 100-run win over Barbados. Jemimah Rodrigues hit 56 off 46 balls to lead India to a competitive total of 162 for four.

That proved to be beyond Barbados, who could only make 62 for eight as Renuka Singh Thakur claimed four wickets for 10 runs.

India will play England and Australia takes on New Zealand in weekend cricket semifinals.

After two Sri Lankan athletes and a coach went missing on Monday, West Midland police said two had been located but that a male wrestler was still missing. The Sri Lankan team had ordered athletes and officials to surrender their passports after the wrestler, a judoku and judoku coach absconded on Monday.

All three Sri Lankans have valid visas to remain in the United Kingdom for 180 days.

Sri Lanka, which brought a team of 161 including 51 officials to Birmingham, is in the midst of an economic crisis.

After seven days of competition and with four days remaining until the games end Monday, Australia continues to lead the medal standings with 51 gold, 42 silver and 39 bronze for a total of 132 medals. England (42-44-32-118) is in second and Canada (17-20-22-59) in third.

New Zealand is in fourth place with 16 golds, 10 silver and 11 bronze for a total of 37. Scotland and South Africa, with seven gold medals each, India with six and Wales, Nigeria and Malaysia with four golds each round out the top 10.