Kathryn Mitchell's sensational opening throw in the women's javelin set the scene for another superb night of athletics at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. Australians took gold in four events, secured three silver medal and bagged one bronze on a night to remember.
Mitchell won gold as teammates Brandon Starc (High Jump), Cameron Crombie (F38 Shot Put), Isis Holt ((T35) all joined her at the top of the podium.
Kathryn Mitchell has thrown a sensational new Australian and Oceania Record to win Gold in the women’s Javelin at the Commonwealth Games.
Her opening throw of 68.92m was also a Games record, shattering the mark of Glasgow 2014 winner and recently retired former teammate Kim Mickle (WA) by 2.96m.
“I probably didn’t expect to boom out a national record on the first throw. It was difficult to concentrate after that,” said Mitchell whose throw was also the longest ever recorded in Australia.
“I’ve been throwing well. I knew what I needed to do.”
It was the sweetest victory for the Victorian who has finished 6th, 5th and 4th at successive Commonwealth Games, since her debut in 2006, to win her first major Games medal at the age of 35 years.
“I have always known I had these distances in me. It’s been a little less about chasing and just to let it happen. I said to myself, if I do what I am supposed to do, it will come, at some throw, at some time and it has”.
The performance consolidated her position as the seventh-best thrower in history and capped a stellar season. Coached by former men’s javelin world record-holder Uwe Hohn, Mitchell twice-bettered Mickle’s national record within 20 days earlier in the year as a prelude to tonight’s fabulous finale.
On emulating Mickle’s Commonwealth win, Mitchell said
“I think she (Kim) will be pretty happy. On my lap I saw her up there yelling. She would have loved it.”
The Victorian continued the fine tradition of Australian winners in the event, as she won the nation’s tenth title.
Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT) made it a brilliant one-two for Australia as the Glasgow 2014 bronze medallist upgraded to silver with an excellent final round throw of 63.89m.
Roberts said “It was an amazing atmosphere. It came down to a big push from the crowd and big push from myself that I can do this.”
South Africa’s Olympic silver-medallist Sunette Viljoen was third in 62.08m.
Men's High Jump
Brandon Starc was superb in the men’s high jump winning gold and jumping 2.32m, the highest leap by an Australian for 20 years.
In a performance bursting with superlatives, it was also Australia’s first gold medal in the event for 24 years, emulating Forsyth’s win from 1994.
The new personal best for the 24-year-old, who is coached by Alex Stewart, moved him to number two Australian of all-time behind national record-holder Tim Forsyth.
But the London Olympian was focussed on winning, not on record heights, saying
“To be honest when I was waiting for the 2.32m, It didn’t even go through my head that it was a PB height. It was just another height I had to clear.”
Bahaman Jamal Wilson was second with a leap of 2.30m, while Canada’s Django Lovett set a new personal best when clearing the same height for third.
Men’s F38 Shot Put
Cam Crombie (NSW), the reigning world champion, scored gold with an outstanding win the F38 Shot Put. A phenomenal series of throws, with five of six throws exceeding 15 metres, Crombie had the crowd attentively cheering on each throw. A third-round throw of 15.74m wound spectators up, heartily cheering on a possible improvement on Crombie’s own world record of 15.95m.
“I couldn’t hope for anything more to have the gold and the green and gold across your chest”
It was a dominating performance as he won by 2m from compatriot Marty Jackson (VIC) who captured the silver 13.74m.
Jackson was ecstatic following his series of throws, attempting to remain calm by blocking out the enthusiastic crowd early in the competition, Jackson admitted to treating himself in the final round, letting the noisy atmosphere fuel his excitement. Finally allowing himself to soak up every cheer from the crowd, throwing his season’s best of 13.74m in the final round.
Jayden Sawyer (ACT) was fourth with 12.40m, as a series including three throws over 12 metres repeatedly challenged his personal best of 12.70m. The World Para Athletics javelin bronze medalist in 2013, the 24-year old looks set to be one of Australia’s premier para-throwers moving forward.
W T35 100m - Final
Isis Holt (VIC) sent the Carrara Stadium crowd into wild rapture, as the 16-year old tore down the home narrowly outside her own world record of 13.36, recording a blistering time of 13.57 (-0.6).
Brianna Coop (QLD) ran a bold race, only three tenths outside of her personal best, Coop claimed bronze in 15.63, adding to her World Para Athletics bronze in 2015.
Holt’s world record run at Carrara Stadium at the Australian Championships provided useful familiarisation in the lead-up to the Games.
“It was pretty much a home track to me tonight, being able to come out here and compete with people from all around the world was quite surreal”
The grinning youngster exchanged a complex handshake that would put most NBA basketballers to shame with teammate Carly Salmon (16.39) fourth placed with 16.39sec, giggling throughout, prior to all three Australian girls departing on a celebratory lap of the stadium.
Holt was delighted with the Commonwealth Games integrated program:
“As Paralympians, you never really feel separate but to be integrated like this is special, and now I can say that I’m a gold medallist alongside some amazing Olympic athletes, which again is mindblowing”
Men's Long Jump
An historical competition for jumps fans globally, the Men’s long jump final proved to be one of the most captivating competitions of the night, as Henry Frayne (QLD) battled with World Champion Luvo Manyonga (RSA), taking silver with a leap of 8.33m (+0.8), as Manyonga rewrote Frayne’s one-day-old Games Record, soaring to 8.41m (+0.6).
Manyonga’s teammate and 2017 world bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai (RSA) claimed bronze with a jump of 8.22m (+0.2).
Frayne was ecstatic with the result, saying,
"It was awesome and I couldn't have asked for a better Commonwealth Games. It was an amazing crowd and electric atmosphere. I'm proud of my effort.”
"I would have liked to come up over the top (won in the final round) but it was an uphill battle after the third round. My body just wasn't competition fit for two days. I had hoped I would have put something a bit more out there."
In a competition that kept spectators on the edge of their seats, Frayne jumped first, with a leap of 8.00m (0.0) laying down the gauntlet to the constantly grinning Manyonga. Grinning ear-to-ear on the runway, Manyonga’s 8.24m (+1.2) immediately assured the crowd that the Commonwealth crown was one the South African seriously desired.
Frayne’s silver medal leap came in the second round, as the crowd erupted upset victory by Australia.
Tension built dramatically, as Manyonga’s second round 8.21m (+0.4) and third round foul kept Frayne in the lead until a fourth round Games Record jump of 8.35m (+0.5) returned Manyonga to the gold medal placing.
Frayne attempted to reclaim gold in the remaining rounds, unable to better Manyonga’s 8.35m leap, as the South African improved to 8.41m (+0.6) on his final jump, whilst Frayne fouled in the final two rounds.
Manyonga now joins Olympic champion Greg Rutherford (England) as only the second athlete to win both World and Commonwealth long jump titles.
It was Frayne’s first international medal since his runner-up performance at the world indoor championship in 2012.
Only three Australian’s, Mitchell Watt, Jai Taurima and Fabrice Lapierre have jumped further than Frayne’s impressive leap.
Teammates Chris Mitrevksi (VIC) and Lapierre (NSW) placed sixth (7.90m, +0.8) and 12th (7.56, +0.7) respectively, in a competition which set record marks for first to fourth placing performances in a Commonwealth Games, indicative of the generational depth amongst the assembled athletes.
Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
An Australian duo beset with injuries and ailments leading up to and into the Commonwealth Games, Genevieve LaCaze (VIC) and Victoria Mitchell (NSW) contended bravely in the women’s 3000m steeplechase final, racing with intent and purpose. Ultimately the depth of the international field proved too much, as both athletes replicated their finishes from Glasgow, recording times of 9:42.69 (5th) and 10:12.59 (9th) respectively.
LaCaze had an injury-interrupted preparation for the race while Mitchell had appendix surgery just weeks ago and it was a race against time to take her place on the start line.
In a thrilling finish, a lead established by Kenya’s Celliphine Chepsol looked near-certain with two laps remaining, as a two-second gap separated second placed Jamaican Aisha Praught. The gap remained at 1.9 seconds with one lap remaining, however, Chespol appeared to struggle to enter the final water jump, Praught, sensing the struggles of Chespol, drew level with 80 metres and one barrier remaining, passing Chespol to win Jamaica’s first male or female steeplechase title.
Women’s Long Jump
Three Australian women took to the long runway this evening, with a qualification standard of 6.60m set to gain automatic entry to the final.
Brooke Stratton (VIC) showed signs of the form that saw her jump an Australian record of 7.05m in 2016, finishing first in qualifying group A.
Only requiring one jump, Stratton bounced off the board, sailing calmly through the air out to 6.73m (+0.0). Stratton appeared pleased with the effort, and after a brief conversation with coach and father Russell packed her bags to rest up for the for tomorrow night’s final.
Lauren Wells (ACT) placed second in group A, after a first jump of 5.88m (+0.2), Wells gathered herself, jumping out to 6.44m (+0.4), 6.46m (+0.2) confirming a place in the final.
Naa Anang (QLD) needed all three attempts to qualify for the final. Unable to leap past the automatic mark, Anang recorded 6.39m (+0.0), 6.46m (+0.8), 6.37m (-0.2), consistency Anang will look to build on in the medal decider.
Automatic qualifiers included England’s Shara Proctor (6.89, +0.0), Canada’s Christabel Nettey (6.79m, +0.6) and Cyprus’ Nektaria Panagi (6.63m, +0.5)
Australia’s trio of 200 metre women treated the crowd to an Aussie in each semi-final to cheer on, as Maddie Coates (VIC), Riley Day (QLD) and Larissa Pasternatsky (NSW) raced in semi-final one, two and three respectively.
Coates stepped out facing the likes of dual Olympic and World Championship medallist Shericka Jackson (JAM), holding her own around the bend, Coates was unrelenting, fourth in her semi-final in 23.43 (+0.1), unfortunately not enough to progress to the final.
Day found herself up against Olympic 400 metre champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) and the fifth fastest woman of all-time Elaine Thompson (JAM), no small task for the 18-year old.
A wry grin flickered across Day’s face as the crowd erupted upon her introduction, the Beaudesert sprinter worked a fantastic bend to enter the straight in contention. Unable to find an extra gear in the final straight to challenge Miller-Uibo and Thompson, Day determinedly locked onto England’s Bianca Williams, dipping on the line to finish fourth (23.24, -0.3), one hundredth behind Williams' 23.23sec.
Day cruelly missed out on the final by the lone hundredth that separated her and Williams in semi-final two. Whilst a supremely frustrating margin, the race signalled composure well beyond Day’s junior years, sure to lead the sprinter to global championship success in upcoming seasons.
Semi-final three proved no less challenging than the previous two, as Pasternatsky faced, World Championship medalist Shashalee Forbes (JAM), placing fifth (23.64, +0.0) unfortunately missing out on progression to the final.
Queenslander Alex Hartmann faced the full force of Commonwealth sprinting in semi-final two, placing third with a run of 20.76 (+0.0) a tenth shy of an automatic qualifying position.
Pat Birgan and Sean Whipp for Athletics Austalia
Statistics and superlatives courtesy of David Tarbotton
Aussies in Action - Next Up
|Thursday 12 April - Morning
|Discus Throw Qualification
||Matthew Denny (QLD), Benn Harradine (QLD), Mitchell Cooper (QLD)
|Heptathlon 100m Hurdles
||Celeste Mucci (VIC), Alysha Burnett (NSW)
|Triple Jump Qualification Round
||Emmanuel Fakiye (NSW)
|Heptathlon High Jump
||Celeste Mucci (VIC), Alysha Burnett (NSW)
|100m Hurdles Round 1
||Michelle Jenneke (NSW), Brianna Beahan (WA)
|800m Round 1
||Brittanny McGowan (QLD), Georgia Griffith (VIC), Keely Small (ACT)
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.