The Australian athletics team won its second gold medal on Day One of competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park on Sunday evening GMT, with Jodi Elkington (NSW) winning the women’s T37/38 long jump in emphatic fashion.
Elkington blew the competition away, having the gold medal won before even taking her final attempt and then extending her winning lead with a wind-assisted leap of 4.39m (+2.2 wind) on her final attempt to add an exclamation point.
She scored 956 points for that effort in the event for athletes with cerebral palsy, which used a formula known as the Raza System to determine the winner given there were athletes with two classifications of disability competing together. She was well clear of silver medalist Bethy Woodward (ENG) who scored 750 points from her leap of 4.00m.
So dominant was she that all of Elkington’s six jumps in the competition would have won her the gold medal.
“When they said it was 4.39m I couldn’t really believe it, to finish off like that,” an elated Elkington said. “I was a little bit disappointed my last one was my best one. I wish it was a little earlier to give me my confidence but I did get a 4.36 out there which then also gave me confidence.
“I think I won with all my six jumps. To take that away again it’s very good given it’s my first international competition with long jump. My aim was 4.40, I was one centimeter off. Even getting over the 4.30 twice I was really happy with that.”
Elkington opened with a leap of 4.29m for 912 points (+0.7) before reaching 4.22m (+0.4) and 4,20m (+0.9) in rounds two and three respectively. She qualified for the top eight as the competition leader and then unleashed a jump of 4.36m (+1.1) in Round Four to establish a new world leading mark for 2014.
She couldn’t improve with her fifth round attempt, which hit the sand at 4.13m (+1.2) but it didn’t matter as none of her competitors could come close to matching her. She then launched herself to her competition winning sixth round mark before accepting an Australian flag from the crowd and running a lap of honour.
Fellow Australian Rae Anderson (NSW) finished in seventh position with her best jump of 3.67m for 503 points (wind +0.9) while the third Australian, Ella Pardy (WA), came ninth with 3.62m for 252 points (-2.5).
On the track, Australian women’s national 100m record holder Melissa Breen (ACT) cruised through her first round heat of the 100m. Breen clocked 11.54 (wind -0.3) to win easing up and automatically advanced to the semi-final of the 100m on Monday.
In a good day for the Australian field events, Damien Birkinhead (VIC) also qualified for the final of the men’s shot put. Birkinhead qualified as the man with the sixth longest throw after reaching 19.20m with his second round attempt. The men’s shot put final will be held on Monday evening Glasgow local time.
Australia’s two women’s hammer throwers both advanced as well to compete in Monday’s final. Gabrielle Neighbour (VIC) finished in seventh place in the qualifying round with her best throw of 61.23. Fellow Australian Lara Nielsen (QLD) qualified in tenth with her best effort of 59.28m.
There was also joy for the Australian women’s 400m pair of Anneliese Rubie (NSW) and Morgan Mitchell (VIC). Mitchell came third in her heat to auto-advance to the Semi-Finals on Monday in the time of 54.28. Ruble then earned her own semi spot as one of the fastest qualifiers with her heat time of 52.86.
In the first track final of Glasgow 2014, Collis Birmingham (VIC) kept up with the pack until the final few laps before succumbing to the pace when eventual winner Caleb Ndiku (KEN) turned up the heat. Birmingham eventually finished in 12th position in the time of 13:35.44.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games commenced in Glasgow on Wednesday 23 July, with athletics competition spanning seven days from Sunday 27 July. The competing Australian athletics team is 98-strong, the largest ever to compete in the green and gold offshore.
Stay connected with the Australian athletics team by interacting with the Commonwealth Games Event Hub on athletics.com.au, or by joining the conversation on Twitter by following@AthsAust and using the hashtag #Glasgow2014.
For more information on the Commonwealth Games, including the competition schedule, please click here to visit the Glasgow 2014 website.
ATHLETICS DAY TWO – AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION
Events on day two, together with competing athletes are listed below.
The session start time is listed in Australian Eastern Standard Time and events in the order of occurrence.
Session One – 7:00pm AEST, Monday 28 July onwards at Hampden Park
Men’s Decathlon: Jake Stein (NSW), Steve Cain (Vic)
Men’s F42/44 Discus Throw (Final): Paul Raison (SA), Don Elgin (Vic)
Men’s T37 100m (Qualifying): Sean Roberts (SA)
Men’s High Jump (Qualifying): Brandon Starc (NSW), Nik Bojic (Qld)
Men’s 400m (Round 1): Steve Solomon (NSW)
Men’s Hammer Throw (Qualifying): Tim Driesen (Vic), Huw Peacock (Tas)
Women’s 1500m (Round 1): Zoe Buckman (Vic), Kaila McKnight (Vic), Melissa Duncan (Vic)
Session Two: 4:00am AEST, Tuesday 29 July onwards at Hampden Park
Men’s Decathlon: Jake Stein (NSW), Steve Cain (Vic)
Women’s Hammer Throw (Final): Lara Neilsen (Qld), Gabrielle Neighbour (Vic)
Women’s 100m (Semi-Final & Final): Melissa Breen (ACT)
Men’s Shot Put (Final): Damien Birkinhead (Vic)
Women’s 400m (Semi-Final): Anneliese Rubie (NSW), Morgan Mitchell (Vic)
Men’s T37 100m (Final): Sean Roberts (SA)
Women’s Triple Jump (Qualifying): Linda Leverton (Qld), Ellen Pettitt (Vic)