In the final session of athletics at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, Australians have picked up more medals in the field as Hamish Peacock won silver (javelin) and Nicola McDermott bronze (high jump).
Tasmanian Hamish Peacock has launched the javelin to a silver medal to move up one podium place after a bronze in Glasgow in 2014. The national champion quipped that “a full set sounds nice” as he now sets his sights on Tokyo 2020 and Birmingham in 2022.
It was a huge throw from the Australian with 82.59m in the fourth round to finish runner-up to India’s Neeraj Chopra who won with a season’s best of 86.47m.
The 27-year-old was pleased with his performance, saying “I am happy to come out and win the silver medal. The Indian was far too good today. To throw a good distance and throw 82m in a big competition was satisfying.”
“I was chasing the gold but I am still happy with silver”
Grenada’s Anderson Peters was third with 82.20m while Australia’s Luke Cann placed sixth with 76.99m.
Women’s High Jump
Nicola McDermott (NSW) picked a great time to set a new personal best of 1.91m collecting bronze in her first major senior international competition.
“I was very determined. I wanted a PB. I came out here and had seen the athletes in Australia who have rose to the occasion and thought now is my time.”
“Today was one of the best days I have ever had.”
“In my heart I knew that if I did a PB I could be up there. I said to myself don’t stop until you are in the gold position but bronze is like aiming for the moon and getting amongst the stars. A PB. A podium I can’t complain.”
Only eight Australians have ever jumped higher than McDermott’s jump.
Coached by Matt Horsnell, the 21-year-old has enjoyed an ultra consistent season with several clearances at 1.85m or better which were a prelude to her brilliant medal-winning jump today. And she enjoyed mixing it with the some of the best jumpers in the world.
“I’m definitely going to be chasing more competitions. Jumping with those girls was incredible. I am so honoured to be jumping with them.”
St Lucia’s Levern Spencer won with a season’s best 1.95m while England’s Morgan Lake was second with 1.93m. Queenslander Cassie Purdon was sixth with 1.84m.
The Australian men’s 4x100m team demonstrated slick baton changes as the quartet of Trae Williams, Rohan Browning, Jack Hale and Joshua Clarke finished fourth with 38.58 the second best ever time by an Australian team at a Commonwealth Games.
The first three runners, Williams, Browning and Hale set the Aussies off to a great start as they were equal with the leaders England throughout.
Clarke took the baton from Hale in equal first with Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (ENG) as a huge cheer roared through the stadium. The barrel-chested Englishman set sail for home and was never headed. Behind him, in the battle for the minor medals, first Yohan Blake for the Jamaicans then Akani Simbine for South Africa went past the Australian.
It was no disgrace though for Clarke, as the three men finishing in front of him boast scintillating 100m bests of 9.69, 9.89 and 9.90w versus the ACT-based sprinters best of 10.15.
Browning summed up the feeling of the young Australian troupe. “Sprinting is an old man’s game. We’re competing against guys who are 25 / 26 (laughs), so we have a lot of time to develop as a unit. That’s our third run together as a four man unit”
England’s winning time was a season’s best 38.13 as Simbine helped his team to a national record in second (38.24) while Jamaica was third in 38.35.
It was a double-dose of misfortune for the Australian women’s 4x100 meter relay team as they did not finish the final and then later found out they had been disqualified.
After solid legs by Brianna Beahan, Maddie Coates and Riley Day, the Australians were in about fifth position behind the English team who were three lanes to their outside.
National 100 meter record holder Melissa Breen tripped as she was accelerating on the anchor leg and Day was unable to make the exchange.
The Australians later found out that there was a line violation on the first leg as Beahan stepped on the inside of the lane.
“I didn’t even realise I did what I did. I’m disappointed I did do that. We ran really well and these things happen unfortunately” said Beahan.
England went on to win the race in a new national record of 42.46 seconds from a fast closing Jamaican team who were anchored by double Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson (42.52) with Nigeria in third (42.75).
World Champion gold and silver medalists Elijah Manangoi (KEN) and Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN), training partners in Nairobi, ensured a tough afternoon at the track for Australian’s Ryan Gregson (VIC), Jordan Williamsz (VIC) and Luke Mathews (VIC).
With the race starting in earnest with two laps remaining, Gregson had stuck to the shoulder of the leading Kenyan’s throughout the race, running wider at times to ensure he had room to work. Williamsz was tucked in the middle of the pack, shadowing Jake Wightman (SCO), as Mathews began to lose contact, struggling to recover from an arduous series of 800m races.
From 800m to 1200m, a 56.06sec lap was driven entirely by Cheruiyot, replicating a familiar lead-out tactic employed regularly on the Diamond League circuit for Manangoi.
Manangoi’s blistering final lap of 52.10sec proved too much for the Australian trio, losing contact on the back straight.
Williamsz fought from ninth at the bell to finish sixth (3:38.34), as Gregson faded over the final 150 metres to finish ninth (3:39.24), whilst an exhausted Mathews was 12th (3:47.04).
"I did make some mistakes. I tried to put myself in a position to win. I tried to hold on to that spot (in third) behind the Kenyans and I paid for it. I tired myself out. To put in a poor effort on the big stage like that is hard to swallow. Jordan ran well and put in his best effort, which is fantastic." said Gregson.
Entering the home straight, Manangoi and Cheruiyot had sewn up gold and silver (3:34.78 & 3:35.17), whilst a courageous 52.5 second final lap from Wightman brought the Scot home for bronze in 3:35.97.
The Australian trio of Eloise Wellings (NSW), Celia Sullohern (NSW) and Madeline Hills(NSW), returned to Carrara Stadium, aiming to build on their 10,000m performances earlier in the week to cap off the Games athletics program.
Sullohern employed her now trademark tactic of determinedly clinging to the lead pack for as long as possible, remaining in the fight for bronze deep into the race. Unable to match the finishing kick of Laura Weightman (SCO), Sullohern battled home bravely for fifth (15:34.73), capping an impressive debut Commonwealth Games.
Wellings hung with Sullohern until the final three laps, improving on her performance in the 10,000m earlier in the week, showing great resilience in finishing eighth (15:39.02).
Showing signs of fatigue early in the race, losing contact with the main group as six laps remained. Hills drained every ounce of effort from herself, finishing tenth (15:46.92).
Reigning World Champion Hellen Obiri (KEN) put on a masterclass over the final 1000 metres, as a 62.8sec final lap punctuated a composed 15:13.11 victory. Teammate Margaret Kipkemboi (KEN) clung to Obiri throughout the final stages, rewarded with a silver medal (15:15.28). Weightman’s bold final hurrah with 300m remaining resulted in a bronze medal (15:25.84), to add to her 1500m silver from Glasgow.
An experienced team represented Australia in the 4x400 metre final, showing characteristic grit and determination amongst a stellar international field.
Anneliese Rubie (NSW) ran a superb opening leg of 51.60sec, again demonstrating the form that propelled her to a finals birth in the individual 400m. Passing the baton off in first position to Caitlin Sargeant-Jones (QLD), the strength of England, Botswana, Nigeria and England became apparent, as Jones was surrounded through the first 100 metres, protecting the baton to hand off in fifth, splitting 52.00sec.
Substituted following Bendere Oboya’s (NSW) injury battles, major championship veteran Lauren Wells (ACT) kept her feet during a royal rumble of a changeover, as a number of teams bumped shoulders jostling to exchange batons as quickly as possible. Wells moved Australia back up to fourth, as a split of 52.73sec provided Morgan Mitchell (VIC) final leg potential.
Frustrated with her performance in the preliminary rounds, Mitchell set off with a point to prove, displaying substantial back-straight courage fending off the likes of individual champion Amontle Montsho (BOT). Mitchell posted the fastest Australian split, as a 51.03sec leg placed Australia fifth, in a seasons best time of 3:27.43.
The Australians celebrated their performance in an upbeat interview.
Rubie: “I felt amazing, it was one of those days where I didn’t even think about how I was running, it felt so good, especially with the crowd, I really tried to lap up the atmosphere today and enjoy it”
Mitchell: “I wish I’d got it there at the end, but I’m really proud of all of us, the first three girls killed it, and that was really exciting to watch”
Sargeant-Jones: “It’s been a really long week, so it was really exciting to finally get out there with the girls, I put everything I had out there on the track, and whilst we didn’t get a medal, we ran faster than Glasgow, so we can’t be disappointed with that”
Wells “I felt good today, it’s a fantastic team, and to have an opportunity to run in front of this home crowd again was amazing”
Anneliese interjects humorously: “I just realised we ran the exact same order today as Glasgow! Isn’t that crazy?!”
“Absolutely, I feel like I’ve come full circle, my first senior team was as a 17-year old in Melbourne, so I felt I could really relate to some of the younger girls in the team. It’s been unreal to finish it off with teammates out there, it’s been a great week and I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved and what the team has achieved”
Pat Birgan and Sean Whipp for Athletics Austalia
Statistics and superlatives courtesy of David Tarbotton
Aussies in Action - Next Up
|Sunday 15 April Morning Session
|T54 Marathon Final
||Kurt Fearnley (NSW), Jake Lappin (VIC)
|T54 Marathon Final
||Madison de Rozario (WA), Eliza Ault-Connell (VIC)
||Jess Trengove (SA), Lisa Weightman (VIC), Virginia Moloney (VIC)
||Liam Adams (VIC), Michael Shelley (QLD)
Follow all the action of the XXI Commonwealth Games
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, from Wednesday 4 April to Sunday 15 April 2018.
Athletics action kicks off on Sunday 8 April and continues until Sunday 15 April.
You can still buy athletics tickets for Gold Coast Commonwealth Games including for finals sessions;
Don’t miss your chance to witness world-class competition live and cheer on the Aussie team.
TV and Digital
The Seven Network will broadcast content on all three of their TV channels - 7, 7TWO and 7Mate.
You can download the 7CommGames app from both the Google Play and Apple store or watch via the website version.
The app and website will have all events on TV and every medal event live, in full and available for free.
Athletics will be hosted by a huge team of athletics specialist led by Bruce McAvaney and include Lord Sebastian Coe, Dave Culbert, Steve Hooker, Tamsyn Lewis.
With Pat Welsh trackside and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Jane Flemming providing additional commentary.
How to listen on radio
ABC Local and Regional Stations – Updates throughout the day with live continuous
coverage from 7.00 pm
The ABC Listen App – on Google Play and Apple store featuring a dedicated Commonwealth Games channel
Grandstand Digital DAB+ – broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
ABC Online – ABC Grandstand will stream its Games coverage
Karen Tighe will host the broadcast with Quentin Hill covering Athletics along with Australia’s fastest man, Patrick Johnson providing expert commentary.