By Deanna Yourell
Australia has wrapped up one of its most successful athletics campaigns in Commonwealth Games history with a trio of medals in the marathon events at Southport Broadwater Parklands on Sunday morning.
The Australian athletics team has had a phenomenal run at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. On the final day of competition, Australia leads the medal table, with 36 medals added to the team’s carry-on baggage, including 13 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze.
Chef de Mission Steve Moneghetti praised the efforts of the team, saying he is pleased with the strong depth of performance at these Games, also noting GC2018 has been our second best Commonwealth athletics campaign.
“From a medal point of view, it’s only behind the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. I think there were more world-class performances on the track and field at these Games.
“We started with a couple of gold medals (in the first athletics session) and we finished with three golds today. It bookended a fantastic campaign,” Moneghetti said.
The final three medals were won in what was a dramatic marathon event, with the men’s defending Commonwealth title holder Michael Shelley coming from behind to take the gold medal place in 2:16:46 after the pack leader, Scotland’s Callum Hawkins, collapsed from heat exhaustion just two kilometres from the finish line.
“When I was coming down the home straight I tried to accelerate but I was just gone. I’m glad to be finished to be honest,” Shelley said.
“I was thinking, ‘It’s going to be hot, so suck it up and do your best.’ Getting up that last little hill (about one kilometre from the finish) was brutal and the wind started to get me as well.”
The combination of the marathon and the hot Gold Coast sun took its toll on many athletes during the race with seven athletes unable to finish the men’s event.
Despite the gruelling effort, the 41.95 kilometre race took silver medallist Lisa Weightman 2:33:23 to complete, only 43 seconds behind the gold medallist from Namibia.
“I’m really proud of my efforts today and I can’t thank the crowd and support team enough for getting us through the campaign and that finish line,” Weightman said.
Jessica Trengove came in just behind Weightman at 2:34:09 to secure the bronze medal at GC2018.
Liam Adams finished his race in fifth place, running it in 2:21:08, while Virginia Moloney finished the women’s marathon in 16th place, completing the run in 2:58:54.