Anna Harrington / AAP News
Brandon Starc gritted his teeth, pulled himself off the mat and pushed through a bruised heel to add high jump silver in Birmingham to his Gold Coast gold.
The 2018 Commonwealth champ has dealt with a foot injury this year and pulled out of last month’s world championships in Eugene to focus on the Games.
He battled through a shaky start to clear 2.25m at the first attempt, coming second to New Zealand’s Hamish Kerr on countback after neither cleared 2.28m.
India’s Tejaswin Shankar (2.22m) was third.
“That was tough. That was probably the toughest comp I’ve ever had,” Starc told reporters.
“I had to withdraw from world champs because of the bruised heel and throughout that comp, besides maybe the first jump, I was feeling every bit of that bruised heel.
“I was taking my shoe off, trying to get some sort of relief, taping it here and there but really I just had to grit my teeth and jump through it.
“I don’t know what i t was, I don’t know if it was family or if I just wanted something really bad and I kind of just jumped through it and somehow I got a medal.”
Starc failed to clear 2.15m on his first attempt while his first and second attempts at 2.19m also went south.
When he missed his first crack at 2.22m, Starc lay for a good 30 seconds with his face firmly in the mat and later admitted it was a mix of frustration and pain.
But Starc pushed through the pain barrier to launch himself over 2.25m and seal a top-two finish.
“I could easily have just rolled over and gave up or just pushed through it and tried to do something,” he said.
“Silver medal, so pretty good.”
Starc said the additional recovery time gained from skipping the world championships gave him just enough breathing room to be competitive in Birmingham.
“World champs was just way too soon,” he said.
“The three weeks that I did have between, I made a lot of progress with m y heel and to jump here with that much pain, I defini tely couldn’t have done anything decent or half-decent in Eugene.”
Starc, 28, had his wife Laura and parents in the stands and completed a lap of Alexander Stadium with infant son Oli before receiving his medal.
“They’ve come all the way to Birmingham to support me. It’s pretty special,” he said.
“He’s probably not going to remember it but it’s just special to have him here.”