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Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Thursday, 7 October 2010 15:28 UK

Commonwealth Games: James the pick of GB track pack

Becky James

James wins silver in sprint for Wales

Jill Douglas
BY Jill Douglas
BBC Sport cycling reporter

Australia may have won the bulk of the gold medals on the track in Delhi but Britain's women have benefitted massively from their Commonwealth Games experience.

The big success story has been Becky James of Wales, who won a silver medal in the sprint on Wednesday to add to her 500m time trial bronze.

I think Becky is a superstar and we're going to see a lot more from her.

Within the Great Britain squad, you have Victoria Pendleton at the top and Shanaze Reede, the BMX rider who could come into the team sprint in 2012, and there is Jess Varnish too.

Meeres liked the fact that Becky - a lovely, friendly girl off the track - clicks into that competitive mood as soon as she gets on the track

But Becky is just 18 years old and has just completed her A-Levels. She has only really been full-time on the British Cycling programme for a short time, yet already she's getting results.

Maybe in the past she has been overawed at big meetings. But I think on Wednesday she suddenly realised she was meant to be here, riding against the best in the world.

She fitted in and the confidence that she will take from getting into a final against Australia's Anna Meares - and running her desperately close in the second leg of their final - will be incredible.

She wasn't overawed by the situation; she rode tactically beautifully and smartly. That is hugely encouraging and testament to the work they've been doing with her in the British Cycling academy.

It was interesting talking afterwards to Meares, who is a very savvy rider, very experienced. She has often finished second to Victoria Pendleton but has won five world titles.

She liked the fact that Becky - a lovely, friendly girl off the track - clicks into that competitive mood as soon as she gets on the track; she's aggressive and very professional in her approach.

Becky will only get better with experience because that's the type of event the sprint is. She will be setting herself new goals now; she knows now that she is as good as any of the young riders coming through.

Great Britain's top riders have chosen to miss these Games to prepare properly for the European Championships - an Olympic qualifying event - in Poland next month.

But James is one of a young group that have grasped the opportunity to experience a big multi-sport event

That in itself is hugely valuable because, if your first event were the London Olympics, you would be blown away, your focus would be distracted.

Anna Blythe
Blythe recovered from a puncture to take scratch race bronze

All the things that make big events special - the athletes' village, dining together, the transport - can be very difficult for an inexperienced athlete.

Also on the podium on Wednesday was England's Anna Blythe, whose decision to switch from being a sprinter onto the endurance programme was repaid with bronze in the 10km scratch race.

The Australians and New Zealanders here all had her marked because they knew she was dangerous. If it came to a bunch sprint, she had the power and pace to take the jump on them.

She reacted well to a puncture - the first time it has happened to her in a major race. She realised she was in with a chance of a medal and again the competitive spirit came through.

Given that she can ride bunch races, with sprinter's legs, you may see her in future contest the omnium - the new Olympic event with six different races - which needs someone who can ride across the disciplines and has good recovery.

Meanwhile, England's Lucy Martin and Katie Colclough - who both came here straight from the World Road Championships in Geelong - and Laura Trott can only have improved this week.

They have had to adapt here to a different way of doing things. They've learned very quickly and that experience will stand them in very good stead, whether they get to the 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealths or even Rio in 2016.

Jill Douglas was talking to BBC Sport's Martin Gough



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