Australia has won three gold medals on Day Six of the athletics at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (SCO) with Dani Samuels (NSW) dominating the women’s discus, teenage sensation Eleanor Patterson (Vic) winning the women’s high jump and Olympic champion Sally Pearson (Qld) putting behind her a tumultuous week to defend her women’s 100m hurdles crown.
Pearson got off to a brilliant start in her final and was never headed as she showed herself to be in a class above her opposition. She won in a time of 12.67 (wind -0.1) ahead of English rival Tiffany Porter, who clocked 12.80 to take silver.
The win ensured Pearson defended the Commonwealth hurdles title she won four years ago in Delhi (IND) and was clearly a massive relief after a difficult preparation period.
“The feeling is there’s happiness and excitement but the weight just comes off your shoulders and you stop hearing your heart beat all day, every day, all night,” an ecstatic Pearson said after the race. “That’s just the best feeling in the world.
“As an athlete, any event that you do, any sport that you do, you have to hold that (emotion) inside you and it feels like it’s going to explode. That’s what happens when you get out of those blocks. Your emotion just pours into the race and when you cross over that finish line you know that everything you’ve done, everything you’ve planned for, has come together. It’s just … ‘yes’! It’s great!”
Michelle Jenneke (NSW) also finished fifth in the women’s 100m hurdles Final in 13.36 while Shannon McCann (WA) placed eighth in 13.60.
18-year-old Eleanor Patterson (Vic) took gold in the Women’s High Jump Final after recording a first round clearance at 1.94m. Patterson was the only athlete to make that height, sailing over it on her first attempt.
In a consummate display of jumping that belied her youth, Patterson passed the first few heights before entering the competition at 1.86m and promptly clearing it on her first attempt. She was also perfect at 1.89m before a first try miss at 1.92m saw her fall behind Englishwoman Isobel Pooley, who managed a first-time clearance, on a countback.
Patterson answered back by promptly clearing 1.94m on her first attempt to take the lead. With neither Pooley nor Lavern Spencer of Saint Lucia able improve on their 1.92m makes, Patterson secured the gold. The girl from Leongatha had three good attempts at 1.96m but couldn’t clear them, yet it didn’t matter as she already had the Commonwealth title firmly in her pocket. It was the first time since 1994 that Australia had won gold in the women’s high jump.
“I’m happy with the gold, for sure,” Patterson said. “I didn’t realise, because Lavern Spencer passed and I didn’t realise I had it and then my coach was telling me that I’d won and I was like ‘what … no!’
“It’s been an amazing experience. It’s so new but so amazing. It’s huge. It’s so much bigger than what I’d experienced before but I just had to stay calm and managed to pull through.”
Fellow Australian Hannah Joye (Qld) cleared an equal personal best height of 1.89m to claim sixth in the women’s high jump final, while Zoe Timmers (WA) cleared 1.78m to finish equal tenth.
In the women’s discus final, Samuels simply dominated the competition. Her opening throw of 62.30m would have been good enough to win the competition as she signaled her intentions right from the start. After a second round throw of 61.45m, she improved her lead further in Round Three as she hurled the discus out to her competition-winning distance of 64.88m. Her remaining three throws were 60.18m, a foul and 61.72m but by then she already had the gold medal around her neck. She won by over three metres from Seema Punia of India, who threw a season’s best of 61.61m to claim silver.
“I felt fantastic and I feel so, so proud that I’ve won my first Commonwealth Games gold medal,” Samuels reflected. “I was happy with my eventual result, 64.88, and was just trying to build on each throw. The crowd is absolutely amazing. There are so many Australian flags and faces and uniforms out there, it’s so good.
“Something I’ve been working on has been consistency, and that’s really important coming into championships. Qualifying last night and the first three for the final as well, it’s really important to perform within three throws and I am comfortable enough to say I can do that now and I can reach the autos.”
Taryn Gollshewsky (Qld) threw 53.04m in the women’s discus final to finish in ninth place, while Christie Chamberlain (NSW) was tenth with a best throw of 52.61m.
In the men’s 1500m, Jeff Riseley (Vic) showed that running the 800m clearly hadn’t taken too much out of him as he stormed home to take second in his heat in 3:40.79 to automatically advance to the Final on Saturday night. Fellow middle distance runner Ryan Gregson (NSW) ran seventh in his heat in 3:41.91 but he just missed out on a berth in the Final. Collis Birmingham (Vic) had also been slated to run but was forced to withdraw due to a hamstring problem.
In the heats of the men’s 4x400m relay, the Australian women’s team of Anneliese Rubie (NSW), Caitlin Sargent (Qld), Jess Gulli (Vic) and Lyndsay Pekin (WA) ensured they advanced by finishing second in their heat in a time of 3:32.40.
The men’s 4x400m team of John Steffensen (NSW), Alex Beck (Qld), Craig Burns (Qld) and Ian Dewhurst (NSW) also advanced to the final. The team finished in a time of 3:05.41 in third place in their heat but their result was upgraded to second after three teams were disqualified. That gave them one of the automatic qualifying spots and ensured the team would run again on Saturday in the Final.
Joel Pocklington (Vic) finished in seventh position in the men’s Pole Vault Final after successfully clearing 5.20m while Matthew Boyd (Qld) registered a ‘no height’ after failing to get over the opening height of 4.80m.
In the men’s 3000m Steeplechase Final James Nipperess (NSW) finished in ninth place in a time of 9:16.76.
Meanwhile, in the men’s 10,000m Final Ben St Lawrence (NSW) ran 28:49.41 to finish 16th and Harry Summers (NSW) clocked 29:00.56 to take 18th.
Hamish Peacock (Tas) got Australia’s men’s javelin throwers off to a great start, reaching 79.08m to comfortably surpass the automatic qualification standard of 78.00m and earn a place in the Final on Saturday. Throwing in the second pool, Luke Cann (Vic) and Josh Robinson (Qld) also both threw auto-qualifiers. Cann sailed out a new personal best of 79.36m on his first attempt and Robinson ensured all three Australians would get through by hitting 78.32m on his second round throw.
The Australian women’s 4x100m relay team of Melissa Breen (ACT), Ashleigh Whittaker (Vic), Ella Nelson (NSW) and Michelle Cutmore (Qld) finished second in their heat in the time 44.45 to ensure they earned a place in Saturday’s Final.
The Australian men’s 4x100m team of Nicholas Hough (NSW), Jarrod Geddes (NSW), Jake Hammond (NSW) and Tim Leathart (NSW) crossed the line in third place in the time of 39.66 in their heat but were subsequently disqualified for being outside the box on the second change.
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 SEVEN – AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION
Events on day seven, 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 – 4:00am AEST, Sunday 3 August onwards at Hampden Park
Women’s Pole Vault (Final): Alana Boyd (Qld), Liz Parnov (WA), Vicky Parnov (WA)
Women’s 5000m (Final): Eloise Wellings (NSW), Emily Brichacek (ACT)
Men’s Javelin Throw (Final): Hamish Peacock (Tas), Luke Cann (Vic), Joshua Robinson (Qld)
Men’s 1500m (Final): Jeff Riseley (Vic)
Women’s 4x400m Relay (Final)
Men’s 4x400m Relay (Final)
Women’s 4x100m Relay (Final)