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By David Tarbotton and Deanna Yourell
The Australian track and field team delivered one of the most successful nights of track and field in Commonwealth Games history claiming four gold and a silver. Three strong hopes, Kathryn Mitchell and para-athletics stars, Isis Holt and Cam Crombie lived up to their favouritism, but high jumper Brandon Starc was a surprise.
On the second throw of the women’s javelin competition, the gold medal had been effectively decided when Victoria’s Kathryn Mitchell launched the javelin out to 68.92m – breaking her recent Oceania record, a mark which was the longest in the world for five years. She backed up the throw with a fourth-round distance of 68.14m.
“I’ve had such a good season,” reflected Mitchell.
“We’ve changed a few things, we’ve brought in some new members of the team and it has really worked. I knew what I had to do and hoped I could do it. I did it tonight and what a place to deliver it.”
Canberra’s Kelsey-Lee Roberts, a bronze medallist in Glasgow, stepped one place higher with her last round throw of 63.89.
Fifth ranked on paper, Brandon Starc was going to be an outside hope for a medal, but he turned around patchy form over the last year to clear a personal best height of 2.32m and win gold. Only once in Commonwealth Games history has the winner leapt higher. It was also the best by an Australian in 20 years.
“I felt good in qualifying. I know I was in good form. I just had to back myself and believe in myself. That’s what I did and look what happened.”
Sacrifices to achieve this?
“I wouldn’t say sacrifices, I’d say choices. I made a choice to do what I do. I chose to do the right things to lead me here. I chose right.”
For an athlete there are highs and lows in their career which bring out emotion.
“I’m going to be in tears for sure. I’m going to love every moment.”
Despite being one of Australia’s youngest team members, Isis Holt exceeded the expectations placed on her 16-year-old shoulders to power through to a gold medal finish in the T35 100m event.
“I can’t believe it’s all over so quickly, that’s the last event of GC2018 for me. This one’s been the best yet. Nothing beats the feeling of running around the track on home soil.
“I’m euphoric. I put this right at the top,” Holt said.
‘Lightning Holt Bolt’, as she is known in the Aussie camp, ran a fast 100m race to clock 13.58 seconds.
Her run was just short of breaking her own world record of 13.36sec set at the Australian Junior Championships earlier this year.
She has already broken her own 100m record three times since the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships and is sure to do it again with such a bright future ahead of her in the sport.
Cam Crombie blitzed his competition to take out a gold medal victory on home soil in the men’s F38 shot put with a 15.74m putt.
Crombie was aiming to break his own world record of 15.95m set at the 2017 World Para-athletics in July last year.
His winning attempt was just 0.21m shy of his record, leaving him with some mixed emotions at the end of the night.
“I really wanted that world record, but I can’t be unhappy with the gold medal,” Crombie said.
Following his stunning jump of 8.35m in the qualifying round, long jumper Henry Frayne backed-up with a tremendous leap of 8.33m in the final to place second to South Africa’s world champion Luvo Manyonga who jumped 8.41m.
In other results on the night, Anneliese Rubie placed eighth in the 400m final (52.03) and Gen LaCaze was fifth in the 3000m steeplechase (9:42.69).
Australia’s four 200m sprinters were unsuccessful in progressing to the final, but Riley Day came oh so close, falling just 0.01 seconds short of making easily the best Commonwealth Games 200m final in history. Day was defeated for the final place by Glasgow 200m bronze medallist Bianca Williams of England.