In their own words | 15 April

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IMAGE || MICHAEL WILLSON

 

Compiled by Deanna Yourell

 

We’ve kept our ears to the ground and brought you the most quotable quotes from the last 24 hours. Here’s today’s action through the voices of those who matter most:

 

Squash player Rachael Grinham describes winning her eighth Commonwealth Games medal:

 

“How many people in the world get to even be at the Commonwealth Games and compete, and then to win medals for your country. Today was my last chance, and by far that was the best I’ve played and I felt really on.”

 

Squash player Donna Urquhart talks about backing up after her gold medal in mixed doubles on Saturday 14 April and her doubles partner Rachael Grinham:

 

“I had to keep my head screwed on last night and make sure I didn’t get too get carried away with the excitement of that. This match meant just as much to me and it was just as important to make sure I didn’t feel like the tournament was over.

“I wanted to be ready for it and make sure I was here for my partner today. It was just adrenaline getting me through today.

“I’m just in awe of Rachel. She’s an amazing doubles player and an amazing squash player. I’m just lucky she’s my partner.”

 

 

Para-athlete Eliza Ault-Connell on her silver medal performance in the T54 marathon and raising awareness for meningococcal disease (the reason both of her legs were amputated at age 16):

 

“Three years ago I didn’t think this would ever happen, it kind of came out of the blue.

“It’s been over 11 years since I competed and I’ve now got three children. I wanted to come back and show them you can do anything.

“I absolutely loved being out there today, it was a great reminder of what I love doing. I fully intend to continue doing that.

“There are so many people who don’t know enough about meningococcal disease, they fear it.

“There are vaccinations available for the disease, but to know the early signs and symptoms is incredibly important.”

 

Para-athlete Kurt Fearnley talks about winning his race, his retirement plans and his advice to up-and-comers:

 

“Everybody deserves nothing, if you want it, you have to work for it. I was lucky I got a bit of a break at the four kilometre mark, but that’s not to say I wasn’t working. I had a look and my average heart rate was 194bpm (beats per minute), which includes a minute before the race started, so I was constantly working.

“You’ve got to be fierce and that was as fierce as I’ve ever been. You’ve got to turn out, come out and fight for it. I’ll fight harder than any of my opposition when it’s one of these days.

“Eight years ago I knew that this was going to be my last race for Australia and that has never wavered, even last night lying in my bed.

“I’m going to race marathons until they bury me in a gutter, but I’m not going to push that hard again.

“To anyone who thinks they want to be here one day, and doing media, I encourage them to err on the side of kindness. And if you want to get here, bring family, bring people with you.”

 

Hockey player Mark Knowles reflects on his team’s performance and playing his last international game:

 

“It was a beautiful night, I couldn’t have scripted it. The boys did so well and I am so proud. I looked up at the clock a couple of times after the stroke (Knowles missed a penalty stroke in the final quarter) and thought the boys were going to back me up this time and they did.

“That’s what every leader wants to see, their team perform and act like that under pressure in front of an amazing crowd. I made a really strong point before the game, the team has earned the right to be here, but they haven’t earned the right to win just yet, and now they have.

“I feel completely at ease with my decision, I love playing hockey but I feel like it’s the right time. I am leaving the game when I still love it. I am fit and healthy and I can run around for 60 minutes and still celebrate.

“I wouldn’t give back a second of my career, but I am stoked these young guys got to feel how good it feels to win gold.”

 

Hockey player Trent Mitton on the team’s sixth straight Commonwealth Games gold medal win, celebrating and moving forward:

 

“That was up there, it’s Knowlesy’s (Mark Knowles) day so we had to do it for him.

“It’s an amazing tradition and legacy. We take every tournament as one we want to win, and we’re happy to get the job done.

“We will do what Knowlesy wants to do (to celebrate). The old fella might go to bed early, but we will try to keep him up as long as possible.

“We will be leading into Tokyo (2020 Olympics), so it will be a big year this year with the World Cup in India in December. We’ll just get stuck into training when we get home.”

 

Basketball player Jenna O’Hea on winning gold and the ejection of Elizabeth Cambage:

 

“I’m ecstatic, I couldn’t be happier.

“Obviously it’s disappointing. You don’t want to see a teammate ejected but I was really proud of how the girls pulled together and regrouped.

“We had to play a different style without her on the court and I thought we did a really good job adjusting to that. She’s been our leading scorer the whole tournament but I thought we really stepped up and did a good job in her absence.”

 

Diver Domonic Bedggood discusses winning gold despite scoring lower on his last three dives:

 

“It wasn’t my best form. I really caught a lucky break in this one. This is why we have competitions like this; to learn and take the good from them and throw away the bad. I feel there was a mixture of both tonight to take towards Tokyo (2020 Olympics). I’m very, very lucky.

“I think I put too much pressure on myself on that last dive but this is the learning curve you know. I just have to stick to my routine, like the first three (dives) and not the let the hype of the crowd get to me.”

 

Diver Maddison Keeney on whether she was nervous before her last two dives, skipping the 1m springboard, and coming back after a disappointing 3m synchro event:

 

Of course, there were (some nerves). I struggled a bit this morning with the old jelly legs but I came into tonight with a fresh mindset and fresh perspective on what I wanted to do. I was just so happy with how I went out there and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.

“I think it was the right decision (to withdraw) because I have been struggling with an injury this year in my lower legs. So I’ve had to really cut back on training and I have had blocks and weeks off and I have missed competitions. It hasn’t been the ideal preparation and so I could have done 1m but I think the right choice was to skip it because in the end I’m a 3m diver and 3m is an Olympic event and so that is my aim. I need the best preparation I could get for my 3m event.”

“I’m not too sure really, it’s just experience because I have been there before, failed dives, bad competitions. It has affected me worse in the past. A couple of years ago, having gone through that, I don’t think I would have come away so positively after that.

“(Her synchronised partner) Annabelle Smith, she is just incredible. She’s always there for me, she’s like my sister and I couldn’t have done it without her because she is just a positive influence on me. She is always there supporting me and I am so grateful for her not ditching me after I stacked it.”

 

Boxer Caitlin Parker on the verdict of the judges and her future:

 

“My heart sank a bit when I heard it was a split decision but I really thought I had done enough. I will have to watch it back to see what went wrong.

“Of course, I’m proud to have won a medal for Australia but I didn’t come to win silver.

“I go right back into training. This is a minor setback, a blip. I’ll be working towards the Tokyo Olympics (2020) and I’ll bring back that gold.”

 

Boxer Skye Nicolson talks about her victory, her opponent and her future plans:

 

“I have no words. I’m so excited right now, over the moon. The best feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.

“I’m so glad I got to enjoy the moment with mum and dad and thinking of (brother) Jamie (Olympic boxer who died in a car crash) 100 per cent. I’m so glad I got this gold medal for my family and for him.

“I always knew it was going to be a tough fight and a chess match. I always hoped I would meet her in the final. We were both wanting to draw each other in.

“I just took the chance and be the one that went forward. She’s a great boxer.

“Definitely Tokyo (2020 Olympics) 100 per cent and we’ve gold two world championships between then.”

 

Basketball player Elinda Snell on what gold means to her after she was left out of the team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, her retirement and the team:

 

“This is amazing. You play the sport to win gold medals and I’m just so grateful for (coach) Sandy Brondello and for Basketball Australia for giving me this opportunity to get back out there. I can’t wait to share this moment with the girls.

“My body was starting to get pretty sore after training and I’m getting slow out there. I know I can still get my shot off but I’m slow getting up and down.

“There’s some absolute superstars coming through. That test is still there for us to get gold at the Olympics as we’ve fallen short with silver quite a few times.

“When we lost Liz Cambage in that first half, Kelsey Griffin, Stephanie Talbot and Katie Ebzery, all came through and really led the way.

“England tested us. They came out strong and really frustrated us early, but we maintained our composure and were able to come away with a convincing win and this gold medal.”

 

Netball player Gabi Simpson reflects on the narrow loss, the team’s state of mind and their rivalry with England:

 

“That was really hard to take but it’s something that will stick with us for a while.

“We’ve always had the belief we can win those tight games. We haven’t been challenged like that to this point but there was still a great sense of belief. It just hurts now.

“Our mental strength is something we’ve been working on for a while. We’ve been working on this for two years.

“We had the belief but it didn’t go our way. That’s what makes it hurt all the more. This will drive us. Having this extra fire in the belly will be something we’ll draw on in the future.”

 

Basketball player Damian Martin describes winning gold at a home Commonwealth Games:

 

“It feels amazing. Trying to describe it is impossible. You grow up watching the Commonwealth Games and basketball hasn’t always been part of it. So one, to be in the Commonwealth Games, and two, to win a gold medal, it is indescribable. To do it with my wife, mum, dad and daughter in the stands, I couldn’t have scripted it any better.

“To have a home Games has been spectacular. Whether that is walking down the street getting messages of support or letters being sent in, I am just so thankful and grateful to get to play here in this nation on home soil.”

 

Squash player David Palmer on the pressure of the gold medal match and their doubles opponents:

 

“I think we flew under the radar coming in as No.5 seeds, so the pressure wasn’t there.

“All credit to England. Adrian (Waller) was outplaying me big time on the wall and I was just trying to hang in there. He was up me for every point and was so fired up.

“I’m really happy I could pick up my game in the third, get on a roll and get the crowd behind us. There can’t be any better way for me to finish.”

 

Squash player Zac Alexander on their performance, the atmosphere and their English opponents:

 

“In doubles anything can happen and we got that in the second game. They outplayed us and in the third we had to control it. We played in down the middle and that changed the momentum for us.

“Thanks to everyone for turning out. That’s what carried us through the third game, both teams looked pretty nervous in the first game feeling each other out but we managed to steady the ship and get that first game which was so important.

“The boys played too good in the second game. They played great all week, upsetting all the teams they played and working well together. They call out all these numbers and secret trick plays and we have no idea what’s going on.”

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