John Salvado / AAP News
This time around, when the whips were cracking in the decisive 1500m at the Commonwealth Games, it was every Australian decathlete for himself.
Daniel Golubovic knew the only way he could wrest the gold medal from big Grenadian Lindon Victor’s grasp was to beat him by more than 25 seconds.
A tall order, but not impossible as Golubovic is a very good runner.
Middle-distance running is far from fellow Australian Cedric Dubler’s forte, and he knew he had no chance of going with Golubovic.
Dubler’s aim was to try and pick off Victor late in the race.
In the end, and despite winning the 1500m by almost 20 seconds, Golubovic had to settle for the silver with 8197 points, with Victor hanging tough for the gold with 8233.
Dubler completely ran out of gas late in the 1500m but still held onto the bronze with 8030.
It all happened a year to the day since Dubler famously cajoled fellow Australian Ash Moloney to bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Oh my god I’m tired, but man, we had a dig,” said the 28-year-old Golubovic.
“I knew I had 25 or 26 seconds to separate from silver to gold.
“We laid it all out there.
“On lap two, my hamstrings were starting to go, but we stuck it out and Lindon ran one heck of a race.
“I’m stoked, I’m tired and I’m ready for a nice big steak.”
All three medallists backed up from the recent world championships in Eugene, with Dubler tagging it “the 10-10-10 – 10 events, 10 days rest and another 10 events”.
“It’s kind of uncharted territory in the world of decathlon,” he said.
“I never expected in my decathlon career that I would back up in under four weeks, so this was definitely an experience
“All of today, the fatigue set in and I was calling it events 15 to 20.
“Everything just got harder and harder, but I’m glad I did it.”
Despite growing up in the US, Golubovic – whose father is Australian – said it had always been his aim to don the green and gold.
He moved down under in late 2019 just before the COVID pandemic hit and shared a house for a while with Dubler.
Golubovic just missed out on a spot in last year’s Olympic team and did it the hard way again for much of this year.
“I had two decaths early in the season I didn’t even finish,” he said.
“I had an injured knee for one of them in the long jump and the second one I had COVID two weeks before and it put me on my rear.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to be qualified or selected for this team.”
Fellow Australian Alec Diamond finished fifth after only being added to the squad as a late replacement for Moloney, who aggravated a knee injury at the world titles.
The only other medal won by Australia at Alexander Stadium on Friday was a bronze to Sam Carter in the men’s T53/54 1500m.
Countryman Jake Lappin was fourth.
Amy Cashin was bitterly disappointed to finish fifth in the women’s 3000m steeplechase after being in the hunt for bronze for much of the race..
Most attention was on countrywoman Brielle Erbacher, who fell heavily after crashing into two barriers on the third-last lap.
Rather than quitting, Erbacher battled to the finish, even though that meant clambering over the remaining steeples rather than hurdling them.
She eventually crossed the line almost two minutes behind gold medallist Jackline Chepkoech from Kenya.
London Olympics finalist Steve Solomon claimed the last available spot in the men’s 400m final on Sunday by finishing fourth in his semi in 46.30.
It shapes as a wide-open race, with little more than half a second separating the eight qualifiers headed by Englishman Mark Hudson-Smith (45.77).