With Team Australia turning its attention from the pool to the track, there was plenty of action at Carrara Stadium today.
During the day, qualification rounds were taking place for many events, as one of the largest ‘all-rounder’ events of the Games carried on through day and night: Women’s Heptathlon, with Australia’s Celeste Mucci ranking third in the points tally by the end of the evening.
In the Women’s 100m Hurdles, Australians Brianna Beahan and Michelle Jenneke both qualified for the final on Friday night, Jenneke commenting: “I don’t run for anyone else, I just run for myself. The crowd at the last Commonwealth Games was great, but this crowd is even better. I was nervous, but if you can use that nervousness and translate it into performance, it’s even better.”
The evening athletics events brought out the stars, performing as well as presenting, with Usain Bolt presenting gold to Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, who set a new Games record of 22.09. The Earl of Wessex also presented medals alongside legends Cathy Freeman and Glynis Nunn-Cearnes. As Glynnis pointed out, this is the first time that the Commonwealth Games has been held in a regional city, the weather and athletes doing us proud.
Kurtis Marschall took out gold in the Men’s Pole Vault, rewarded by a roar of approval by the crowd. Women’s Defending Discus Champion and Gold Coaster Dani Stevens set a new Commonwealth Games record of 68.26m, and Luke Mathews clocked a season’s best to take out bronze in the Men’s 800m.
The fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, in a media conference in Broadbeach mid-afternoon said, “I’m just happy to be here at the Commonwealth Games and see it from a spectator standpoint tonight; I’m excited about that.”
While he said of his world record, “For me records are meant to be broken. Hopefully it won’t be any time soon, but I feel in time some young person will come along – if they have the same work ethic and talent, and they want it as bad as I wanted it, the possibility is there, but hopefully it’s not any time soon,” his record remained intact, Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago collecting the nation’s first gold in a Men’s 200m Final with a time of 20.12 following the disqualification of England’s Zharnel Hughes for obstruction. Usain Bolt’s 2009 world record time of 19.19 remains intact.
It was a night of firsts: Australia’s Rhiannon Clarke setting a new Commonwealth Games and Australian record with a silver medal in the Women’s T38 100m at the first integrated Commonwealth Games, and Kyron McMaster’s gold in the Men’s 400m hurdles, being the first medal for the British Virgin Islands at a Commonwealth Games. We can only imagine their jubilation!
Athletics words and images by Marj Osborne.
It was an exciting day at Nerang, with the cross-country mountain biking trials kicking off with a team of twelve women (thirteen qualified but Bermuda’s Flora Duffy failed to start). Australia’s Rebecca McConnell put in a gutsy effort to finish sixth overall, while England’s Annie Last and Evie Richards took out the Gold and Silver, Canada’s Hayley Smith in third. The men’s competition saw another 1-2 sweep, this time with New Zealand’s Samuel Gaze and Anton Cooper bringing it home for the Kiwis, with Alan Hatherley of South Africa winning the Bronze. Australia’s Daniel McConnell finished up seventh in what proved to be a pretty tight finish.
Mountain biking words by Natalie O’Driscoll. Images by Nadia Achilles.
Finally, it was medal time at Coolangatta Beachfront as the beach volleyball wrapped up on Day 8. England took on New Zealand in the Men’s bronze medal match, with New Zealand taking it out 2-0. The Men’s Gold medal match between Australia and Canada was a nail biter, but our team of Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann held on to grab the third set and win 2-1, bringing home the Gold in front of an ecstatic crowd. Schumann had a perfect service game, while McHugh took out fastest serve at a whopping 94kmph. The women’s Bronze match saw Vanuatu and Cypress battle it out, Vanuata winning a comfortable two sets to nil. And our Aussie Women’s team of Mariafe Artacho del Solar and Taliqua Clancy, following an epic competition, unfortunately couldn’t continue continue their winning streak against the Canadian women, claiming a hard-fought silver in their final match. Both teams have done Australia proud throughout the comp.
Beach volleyball words by Natalie O’Driscoll. Images by Danny Santangelo.