Live: Commonwealth Games day nine
We’re on the home stretch on the third last day of competition at the Commonwealth Games.
THE athletics action continues on day nine of the Commonwealth Games while plenty of Aussies have their chance to shine in a host of other sports.
Alysha Burnett and Celeste Mucci are fighting for medals in the women’s heptathlon and Michelle Jenneke and Brianna Beahan will both run in the final of the 100m hurdles later tonight.
More than a handful of local boxers step into the ring and Australia also has plenty to look forward to in team sports. The Opals play New Zealand in the semi-final of the women’s basketball competition and in the hockey the Kookaburras face England in the semis.
The women in green and gold also take on Wales and England in today’s rugby sevens competition.
Divers Esther Quin and Georgia Sheehan both performed strongly in the preliminary stage of the women’s 1m springboard event this morning to qualify for the final later tonight.
Aussies have gold on their mind
Aussie Aaron Wilson is into the final of the men’s singles lawn bowls after defeating Englishman Robert Paxton 21-16.
He will face Scotland’s Darren Burnett in the gold medal match.
The Scots got the better of Australia in the men’s fours final on Friday afternoon.
Local Harry Garside will also fight for gold in the men’s 60kg boxing division after securing a split decision win over Michael McDonagh from Wales.
Fellow boxers Taylah Robertson (women’s 51kg) and Anja Stridsman (women’s 60kg) also won their semi-finals today to give themselves a shot at claiming gold.
Divers fall short of major prize
Aussie divers Domonic Bedggood and Declan Stacey narrowly missed out on a gold medal in the men’s synchronised 10m platform event, eventually settling for bronze.
The pair finished an agonising 7.89 points behind winners Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow from England. The other English team of Matthew Dixon and Noah Williams claimed silver.
The Aussies were sitting in pole position after their final dive but the English pairings both nudged past the local heroes with their last efforts.
Elsewhere, the Australian squash team of Donna Urquhart and Rachael Grinham won through to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles with a win over Wales.
Aussies sensationally disqualified
Australia’s 4x400m relay team has been sensationally disqualified from the final over a bizarre handover incident.
Aussie athletics great and Channel 7 commentator Tamsyn Lewis said the Australian team faced an automatic disqualification because star 400m runner Steve Solomon accepted the baton in an incorrect position.
Solomon was spotted lining up in fourth spot to receive the baton from Joshua Ralph, who was running in fifth position behind Trinidad and Tobago.
Under the International Association of Athletics Federation rules, relay runners must line up to receive the baton in the order at which the race is being run 200m before the baton change.
Lewis said it was clear Ralph was behind the Trinidad and Tobago runner and that Solomon had pushed in front in the handover order, despite Ralph running past Trinidad and Tobago’s Lalonde Gordon leading into the final straight.
Solomon produced a gutsy final leg to push Australia from fourth to third and secure what would have been immediate qualification with a time of 3:04.22 — just 0.25 seconds behind heat winners Jamaica.
News of Australia’s disqualification came through about half an hour after the race.
Several minutes after the heat was run Lewis voiced her fears.
“There is something going on with the last changeover, I hope there are no disqualifications,” Lewis said.
“The last changeover, Steve Solomon was put in a strange position. I don’t want to say this on television because I’m hoping the judges aren’t listening but I know that is an automatic disqualification.
“He would have known that that was an automatic disqualification. Hopefully Steve Solomon didn’t move in front of him. It looked like it to me and I’m a little bit worried.
“It is a big shame. He ran a magnificent leg. There is some chatter going on behind us with people that know a fair bit full stop right now. There is every possibility and it’s not official that this team may not be able to take its place in the final.”
Channel 7’s Dave Culbert said: “The Australian team will be disqualified.
“If they have acted out. It is not the Trinidad athletes’ job to say that you are in the wrong spot. The 4x400m runners know that that’s the rule.
“Sometimes in the heat of battle you do the wrong thing and it looks like Steve has done that.”
— Tyson Otto on the Gold Coast
‘It’s wrong and it must change’
Australian track and field great Dave Culbert says it’s time athletes competing in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games are given more money.
The two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist, now a Channel 7 commentator, said athletes receiving such limited funding and prizemoney was “wrong and must change”.
Culbert’s plea was sparked by reports Cricket Australia has given Channel Nine the flick in favour of a bumper Foxtel offer said to be worth at least $1 billion over the next six years.
Aussie hurdler Michelle Jenneke alluded to the lack of monetary support given to athletes in an interview last month.
“One of the issues is that if you’re good at sport and representing your country, a lot of people see it as a job. They don’t understand this is a job that doesn’t pay,” Jenneke told news.com.au.
“In athletics, pretty much all the athletes aren’t really getting paid anything for what they do. We put in a lot of hard work because we love it and it takes up a lot of our time and a lot of our energy but it’s not (our only activity).
“We’re either having to be at uni or have a job — there’s not many athletes who can support themselves just based on athletics.
“We’re held up to a level where they (the public) think we should be professional athletes but they’re not actually paying us like we can be so it’s very hard to reach the level that everyone thinks we should be at.
“It’s not really that much money that goes into each of these individual athletes.”
Disaster strikes for England
Disaster struck for England when Matthew Hudson-Smith went down injured about 50m into the opening leg of the men’s 4x400m relay heat.
Leading off for the English, Hudson-Smith suffered a leg injury that robbed his team of the chance to progress to the final.
“Oh my God, Matthew Hudson-Smith! He looks like he has done a hamstring … England are out,” Channel 7’s Bruce McAvaney said.
“That’s just an absolute shock and so sad, to be truthful?
“We all cannot believe it at the moment.”
“I cannot (believe it), the other team members are shattered for their teammate who’s clearly in a lot of pain,” Aussie track legend Tamsyn Lewis added in commentary.
The cruel turn of events added to a miserable campaign for Hudson-Smith after he was disqualified from the individual 400m program for stepping out of his lane.
Aussie divers, runners in action
Australians Esther Qin and Georgia Sheehan enjoyed a fruitful start to the women’s 1m springboard event.
Qin finished first and Sheehan came second in the preliminary stage of the program, while South Africa’s Julia Vincent was third. Maddison Keeney was forced out of the event with injury, the 21-year-old believed to be suffering from shin splints.
The final takes place later tonight.
Aussie Ryan Gregson qualified for the final of the men’s 1500m after finishing second in his heat but Luke Mathews — who won bronze in the 800m on Thursday — won’t get the chance to add to his medal tally after he came seventh in the same heat.
Jordan Williamsz missed out on automatic qualification after finishing fifth in heat two but his time of 3:47.75 was good enough to see him advance to the final.
Hughes breaks silence on DQ
English track star Zharnel Hughes has spoken publicly for the first time after he was dramatically stripped of the gold medal in the men’s 200m final.
The 22-year-old refused to speak to the press on Thursday night after being disqualified for obstructing Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards.
He spoke to Channel 7 on Friday morning after he helped England to qualify for the final of the men’s 4x100m relay.
“It is heartbreaking to know that I went down like that,” he said.
“But I’m a champion so I will come back and refocus with the relay guys and give my very best to all of the team and help propel us to the finals.
“I think all of us know the pain I have been through last night and the guys have been really supportive of me. I got in last night quite late and by the time I got to my room everyone was giving me hugs.
“I just want to say thank you very much to all my fans back in England. I have seen all your messages but it is hard to go to all of them right now. I want to send my love to you guys.”
— Tyson Otto on the Gold Coast
Aussie gymnast wins bronze
Australian Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva won the bronze medal in the individual ball component of the rhythmic gymnastics final.
She finished with a total of 13.250 as Cypriot Diamanto Evripidou won gold and Sie Yan Koi of Malaysia claimed silver.
Relay team qualifies for the final
Australia’s men’s 4x100m relay team booked a spot in the final after finishing second in their heat on Friday morning.
Trae Williams got the squad off to the perfect start and the men in gold had the lead when Jack Hale received the baton as the third runner.
But the Aussies crossed the line behind South Africa after Akani Simbine stormed home in the final leg to pip Josh Clarke.
Indian athletes get punted
Two Indian athletes have had their Gold Coast accreditation torn up and been placed on the next flight home after Commonwealth Games officials ruled they had breached the event’s strict no needle policy.
The two athletes were among a group of Indian officials to be officially reprimanded by Games officials as a result of needles being discovered in the athletes’ village last week.
Triple jump athlete Rakesh Babu and race walker Irfan Kolothum Thodi have been denied any further involvement in the Games.
The Commonwealth Games Federation released a statement on Friday, declaring the athletes had given unreliable testimony during the investigation surrounding the syringes located in their bedroom inside the village.
‘The testimony of athletes Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi who denied all knowledge of the needle in the cup in Bedroom 2 and the further testimony of Rakesh Babu that he had no knowledge of the syringe found in his bag in Bedroom 2 are both unreliable and evasive,” the statement said.
“Rakesh Babu and Irfan Kolothum Thodi are in breach of the No Needle Policy in that they failed to ensure compliance with the No Needle Policy and, in particular, failed to ensure compliance with paragraphs I, II, III and IV of the No Needle Policy.”
— Tyson Otto on the Gold Coast
Colleague cracks Kochie up
Channel 7 presenter Edwina Bartholomew cracked Sunrise co-host David Koch up as she introduced a package about loved-up athletes at the Commonwealth Games.
“Our Cash Cow caller might not be lucky today but certainly lots of athletes are getting lucky at the Comm Games,” she said as Koch was heard laughing off camera.
“They’re intense, they’re passionate, it’s testosterone fuelled and I’m not talking about the competition if you know what I mean.
“Plenty of athletes are meeting their match in the athletes’ village.”
Games’ most crushing photo
This is the moment English sprinter Zharnel Hughes learnt he’d been stripped of his gold medal in the men’s 200m.
Hughes won the race ahead of Jereem Richards in a photo finish but was later disqualified for impeding his rival as officials ruled he made contact with the Trinidad and Tobago runner.
Hughes was doing a lap of honour with the English flag draped across his shoulders before he was told the awful news.
“Zharnel Hughes is being told by this official … that he has been disqualified,” athletics legend Sebastian Coe said in commentary for Channel 7.
“This is the very moment his night was shattered.”
Bolt’s one regret, surprise Games cameo?
The newly-retired Usain Bolt says he isn’t planning a return to elite sprinting but he may still play a role at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Channel Seven sports presenter Mark Beretta said on Sunrise this morning the Jamaican — who is on the glitter strip for a promotional tour — may make an appearance at the closing ceremony.
“Here is some news coming up, the closing ceremony may have a major role for him,” Beretta said. “Don’t be surprised if you see him in the closing ceremony on Sunday night. Let’s see what happens.”
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist also revealed only has one regret from his racing career — not breaking the 19-second mark in the 200m. Bolt holds the world record for the event at 19.19 seconds but wishes he could have gone just that little bit faster.
“The only thing that I would have wanted really was to run under 19 seconds,” Bolt said. “That would have been something big.
“But I have the world record, so it’s fine.”
Track drama as Aussie medal tally climbs
It was a night of surprises Thursday on the track at the Commonwealth Games.
An expected close duel between Olympic champions was lopsided, with Shaunae Miller-Uibo winning the women’s 200 metres final in a games record time and Elaine Thompson missing out on a medal.
And Zharnel Hughes initially was awarded the win in a photo finish with Jareem Richardson in the men’s 200 final but was later disqualified. Richardson, who was in the adjacent lane and appeared to be impeded by Hughes’ left arm only meters from the finish, was subsequently declared the winner in 20.12 seconds.
Watching it all was eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt, now retired but in the stadium to present the medals to the women’s champion. Many expected him to be draping the gold medal over the neck of fellow Jamaican Thompson, who had matched his feat at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 by winning the 100-200 double. Instead it was Miller-Uibo, who won the 400 in Rio, who won in 22.09, lowering the mark set by another Bahamas sprinter, Debbie Ferguson, in 2002.
Elsewhere around the Commonwealth Games:
Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann beat a Canadian pair to win the first beach volleyball gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. McHugh and Schumann beat Samuel Pedlow and Sam Schachter 21-19, 18-21, 18-16.
“I can’t believe that just happened after being behind 9-12 (in the third set),” Schumann said. “We thought we’d just ride it out and see what happened.”
Canada got one back when its women’s team beat Australia in straight sets. The world No. 1-ranked pair of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Human-Paredes defeated Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar for the gold.
Aussie diver Melissa Wu won her first individual gold medal in the women’s 10m platform while other home grown stars also gave the Gold Coast crowd reason to cheer. Dani Stevens claimed gold in the women’s discus while Kurtis Marschall stood on the top step of the podium in the men’s pole vault.
Brooke Stratton (long jump) and Rhiannon Clarke (T38 100m) both won silver, while Luke Mathews (800m) and James Connor (3m springboard) walked away with bronze medals.
— with AFP