Emotional Van der Burgh retains 50m breaststroke gold
Glasgow: South African Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh said retaining his 50m breaststroke Commonwealth title on Monday was the most emotional victory of his career after missing out on 100m breaststroke gold earlier in the week.
Van der Burgh had been beaten by 19-year-old English sensation Adam Peaty on Saturday, but earned revenge as he edged out Peaty by just two hundredths of a second to take gold in a new Games record time of 26:76sec.
World 100m breaststroke champion Christian Sprenger of Australia took bronze.
However, there was disappointment for hosts Scotland as Mark Tully just missed out on a medal in fourth, whilst Ross Murdoch finished down in sixth.
"It was one of the hardest races I have ever had in my life, said Van der Burgh.
"I think the mental victory is worth it as much as a gold medal. The last 48 hours has been really difficult for me.
"Coming into the competition I had to reassess the values and love I have for the sport and I think after the final of the 100m I had no motivation.
"Mentally it has been so emotional for me. I have been talking to my mum a lot, so to come out tonight was one of the most priceless medals I will ever earn."
And Van der Burgh is hoping his new rivalry with Peaty will spark his competitive nature in the two-year build up to the Rio Olympics in 2016.
"This was by far the most emotional medal I have won. It sounds a little stupid but I think in London it came too easy. We beat the field by quite a margin. This race was quite a battle for me.
"It`s good to see these boys coming out like I did.
"My dream was always to win in the Olympic Games, but I never set that next goal and I have realised now I need to set another goal."
Despite only taking silver, Peaty was still delighted to continue his amazing meet and is sure he will keep improving to ensure he stays ahead of Van der Burgh in the 100m breaststroke.
"I still have plenty things to work on for next year the year after and plenty years after that," he said.
"But, for now, I am really happy with that swim.
"I don`t really focus on the 50m anyway because it is not an Olympic event, so I concentrate on the 100m and just enjoy this as a bonus.
"I think I have sparked his flame at the moment, but I think it will be a great rivalry in the years to come."