OPENING CEREMONY: Wed 4th April – Kookaburras Hockey Captain Mark Knowles led the Australian team into Carrara Stadium as Flagbearer.
© Michael Willson
MARK KNOWLES LEADS IN SPORTSMANLIKE STYLE
True to host country tradition, Australia were the last team to enter Carrara Stadium at the Opening Ceremony. As 70 nations made their lap of honour around the stadium, onlookers cheerfully clapped in anticipation for the finale.
Then, a deafening roar as Kookaburras Hockey Captain and chosen Flagbearer Mark ‘Knowlesy’ Knowles entered the stadium leading the team out as the home crowd were sent into a frenzy.
Knowlesy’s pack-leading position was short-lived as halfway through the lap Knowles stopped and dropped back into the Australian pack, which he explained afterwards.
“It means as much or more to me than what I’ve been able to achieve on the field,” Knowles said about being Flag Bearer.
“To hear the roar when it was announced the other night, to feel the vibe around the village from the athletes, it’s been pretty amazing.
“My little thank you was to drop back into the pack and let the athletes go forward. I thought it was a nice way to be a team player.
“I don’t need to stand at the front. Hopefully they enjoyed that.”
Knowles said the experience to lead his country was amazing in front of a packed parochial crowd on the Gold Coast.
“It was amazing,” he said.
“To feel the vibe leading into the stadium was pretty amazing.
“To actually hold the flag up and feel the love from the 400-odd behind me was amazing.
“Thank you to all the team who embraced it tonight.”
Inspirational and authentic leadership at its best – a great way to kick off our Games campaign.
WORLD RECORD FALLS ON DAY ONE OF TRACK
Australia picked up half of the six gold medals on offer on the opening day of track cycling at the Commonwealth Games.
The men’s 4000m team pursuit won gold for Australia in a new World Record time in front of an electric crowd at the Anna Meares Velodrome.
Earlier in the day, the quarter of Alex Porter, Jordan Kerby, Leigh Howard and Sam Welsford qualified fastest in 3mins 52.041. A tactical move from the team saw teenager Kelland O’Brien come in for Kerby, with the team scorching the track in a World Record time of 3 minutes 49.804 seconds, shaving nearly half a second off the record which Great Britain set in Rio two years ago.
TOO GOOD TOOMEY
The reigning CrossFit Games champion sent the Australian crowd into a frenzy having recorded a winning total of 201kg with six perfect lifts at her maiden Games.
Tia Clair Toomey’s extraordinary performance, featuring two personal bests culminated in a heart-stopping dual to edge out Canadian favourite Tali Darsigny by just 1kg.
Darsigny lifted 112kg with her final lift for a total of 201kg, and Toomey needed to lift 114kg to earn the top position on the dais.
The 24-year-old Queenslander delivered.
It was a fairy tale result for Toomey, who dedicated her performance to her late cousin who died suddenly in a car accident the week before.
A DISPLAY OF TRUE AUSSIE SPIRIT
A memorable moment of the women’s 10,000-metre race at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Monday may have arrived not with the first placed, but with the last.
Australia’s 10,000m trio Eloise Wellings, Madeline Hills and Celia Sullohern finished unplaced in the intense track event, but their moving act of sportsmanship following the race didn’t go unnoticed.
The exhausted Aussie women decided not to immediately leave the track with the rest of the competitors, but instead in a move opted to stay behind long after Uganda star Stelle Chesang won the event.
Why? there was still an athlete running.
Lineo Chaka of Lesotho came in last place over five minutes behind the winner and was met at the finish line by the gracious Wellings, Hills and Sullohern who waited to congratulate her on completion of one of the most physically demanding events at the Games.
Wellings shared her own reflection on the event, in an inspiring instagram post:;;;;
“Thankyou… for waiting for me. I got back to my room that night and let the tears fall because I did not have to finish alone” 😭😭😭 • I was (and still am) really moved about the impact that occurred around that moment after the 10k. • I judged myself pretty harshly after my own performance. Just moments earlier I was walking off the track after crossing the line, gutted and embarrassed by my underwhelming and disappointing result, thinking about where I could go and hide. I chose to stay because I saw Lineo still running and I saw in her face what I was feeling in myself those last few laps… pain. Pain of a physical sense for sure but mostly pain of not meeting my expectations. I quickly reminded myself of the truth that I’m not defined by my performance and nor should anyone else be. • The public response to that moment has both moved me and challenged me. It’s challenged me to slow down more, to wait more, to be present more, to consider who, in my sphere of influence, needs more encouragement, more time, more attention, more love more grace more forgiveness, more of the kindness and less of the judgement… because no one should finish alone.
Commonwealth Games Australia selected inspiring para-track athlete Kurt Fearnley to carry the Australian flag at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
Fearnley who has been a hero of Australian sport for over a decade, capped off his international career with a gold medal in the T54 wheelchair marathon the morning of the Closing ceremony.
The 37-year-old scorched the field to claim gold by more than a minute on the streets of the Gold Coast and said he fought back tears the entire time.
“These Games have been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve been a part of,” Fearnley said.
“This race this morning, I feel like I’ve lost fluid from crying.
“It’s just one of the most emotional things I’ve been a part of by far”.
Fearnley, now retired from international racing, answered media questions but also reiterated to those who follow in his footsteps, the importance of representing Australia proudly.
“My country are the people that have just given and given and felt like I’ve just been able to build this racing career because of their generosity,” he said.
“I think of the country as just an expansion of my family.”
Gold Coast 2018 hosted the largest integrated para-sports program in history, a feat Fearnley says he wouldn’t have dreamt of growing up.
“I have proudly shared this journey with my community and it was rare being able to speak to the athletics team as a whole, able and para together,” he said.
“As a kid I couldn’t have imagined seeing a guy in a wheelchair or a girl in a wheelchair carry the flag at the closing ceremony.”
.@GC2018 men’s wheelchair marathon champion @kurtfearnley has been announced as the Australian flagbearer for tonight’s closing ceremony. Report on 7 News at 6pm. #7CommGames#7Newspic.twitter.com/fHZ0d9vXjh
— 7 News Gold Coast (@7NewsGoldCoast) April 15, 2018