Best of GC2018: Day 11
The action, drama., sportsmanship and excitement that has defined the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games continued right up until the last second.
The final day of GC2018 started with the Marathon, ended with the Rugby Sevens and included gold medal moments in Netball, Basketball, Squash, Table Tennis and Badminton.
Thank you for sharing the dream with us at GC2018. It’s been a truly great Games.
The final day of GC2018 started with the four Marathon events.
Australian Kurt Fearnley led from the 5km mark in a courageous race that also delivered a new Games record. It was the perfect sign-off to an outstanding career, finishing in 1:30:26 and adding gold to his T54 men’s 1500m silver.
Madison de Rozario made it a golden double in the women’s T54 Marathon, winning in 1:44:00. She broke away in the final five kilometres to win her second and final event of the Games.
Eliza Ault-Connell won silver but it may as well have been gold for the 36-year-old. The mother of three hadn’t competed in 11 years and came out of retirement to have a crack at GC2018. It paid off.
“Three years ago I didn’t think this would ever happen, it kind of came out of the blue,” she said. “It’s been over 11 years since I competed and I’ve now got three children. I wanted to come back and show them you can do anything.”
Ault-Connell now has her sights set on Tokyo 2020. Jade Jones, the Para Triathlon champion, won bronze.
In the women’s Marathon, Helalia Johannes became the first Namibian woman to win Commonwealth Games gold. Johannes broke away two hours into the race, crossing the finishing line in 2:32:40.
Australia could be a lucky charm for Johannes - her husband won gold in Boxing at the Melbourne 2006 Games. Australian Lisa Weightman placed second, improving on her bronze from Delhi 2010, with Jess Trengove securing her second bronze medal in the event after placing third in Glasgow.
The conditions were especially challenging when the men’s race started. Scotland’s Callum Hawkins was leading up until the 40km mark, when he unfortunately collapsed in distress.
Michael Shelley, who was born in the old Southport hospital barely one hundred metres from the finishing line, won his second successive gold in an emotional finish.
Badminton a smash hit
The Badminton action started with an English showdown. Husband and wife duo Gabrielle and Chris Adcock successfully defended their title 21-19, 17-21, 21-16 against fellow English team Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith. With Gabby’s year disrupted by an ankle injury, Chris said they were stoked to be on the podium.
“Literally one week of training so it’s very special,” he said. “Standing on the podium, with the English flag going up is an unbelievable feeling. But doing it with your wife is something I can’t even explain,” he said.
India’s Saina Nehwal won the women’s singles over compatriot PV Sindhu 21-18, 23-21 and said it was a competitive tournament and she was feeling the pressure.
“It was challenging throughout the tournament because I’ve played almost 11 matches now,” Nehwal said. “It was a really tough tournament, my legs are really hurting. It was overall a high-pressure tournament, a lot of tough competition from the Malaysians.”
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei defeated Srikanth Kidambi 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 in the men’s singles final, turning the tables on the Indian star who defeated Chong Wei to secure India’s gold in the mixed team event.
“I know how important this gold medal is for Malaysia,” Chong Wei said. “I won this for the whole Malaysian badminton team.”
The women’s doubles went to Malaysia, with Mei Kuan Chow and Vivian Woo defeating England’s Lauren Smith and Sarah Walker 21-12, 21-12.
Stars leave it all on the table
Singapore team Ning Gao and Mengyu Yu won gold in the mixed doubles with a 3-0 victory over England’s Liam Pitchford and Tin-Tin Ho.
But that was just the first of two gold medals in two hours – a short time after the mixed doubles victory, Gao won the men’s singles gold medal match against Quadri Aruna 4-2.
It was third time lucky for Gao, who had previously lost gold medal matches at the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Slam dunk for Boomers
Australia’s defense proved too strong for Canada, the home team winning the final match 87-47 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. Canada entered the game after a thrilling semifinal upset over New Zealand but struggled against the Boomers.
Australia’s coach Andrej Lemanis described the team’s effort as inspirational. “They’re inspirational in the way they go about their business and the attitude they give to it, and as you see, they’re able to produce on the international stage.”
The GC2018 Netball competition was thrilling, right until the final second of the gold medal match. England and Australia were close for the entire match, before England’s Helen Housby scored the match-winning goal after the siren.
It wasn’t the fairytale ending Australia was hoping for, but it was a significant moment for England and a great match for the future of the sport.
History was made in the bronze medal match too, with Jamaica defeating New Zealand 60-55. For the first time since Netball was added to the Games program in 1998, the New Zealand Silver Ferns will return home without a medal.
New Zealand sweep the Rugby Sevens medals
Kelly Brazier was New Zealand’s hero as she scored a golden point extra-time try to beat Australia 17-12 and claim the first Commonwealth Games women’s rugby sevens gold in a thrilling encounter on Sunday.
With the scores at Robina Stadium locked at 12-12 and the first period of extra-time about to end, Brazier, stepped and jinked her way through the Australian defence from the New Zealand 15m line before outpacing the covering defence.
"It's so surreal, I can't believe I just won the gold medal," New Zealand captain Sarah Goss said. "I'm so proud of all the girls, it's been an amazing run over the last eight weeks.
In the men's match, New Zealand posted a convincing victory over Fiji 14-0, making it a perfect double for the nation.
Squash stars shine
In the women’s doubles, New Zealand’s Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy won 2-0 over Joshna Chinappa, Dipika Pallikal Karthik. The Squash competition, which ran every day during GC2018, was gruelling. King also won the women’s singles and bronze in the mixed doubles.
"I'm absolutely knackered. Everyday we'd walk back into the village and all the other athletes would give us grief about still playing,” she said.
"We've had a tough schedule and there's no getting away from it. I definitely would not be here without my team picking me up all the time and getting me back on the horse."
Australia’s Donna Urquhart and Rachael Grinham claimed the bronze medal match. It was the second GC2018 medal for Urquhart, who also won gold in the mixed doubles, and the eighth Commonwealth Games medal for Grinham.
In the men’s doubles gold medal match, Australia’s David Palmer won his ninth Games medal and third gold, combining with Zac Alexander for victory. The pair defeated England’s Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller 2-1.
Photos of the Day
What You Might Have Missed
Gold Run 2018
6,600 runners, representing the number of athletes and team officials participating in GC2018, took part in a special fun run at Southport Broadwater Parklands. Taking place on a section of the same course, at the same time as the marathon runners, participants turned the streets of Southport to gold, wearing gold shirts and bright smiles.
Fresh off his gold medal marathon effort, Kurt Fearnley swapped his Australian team kit for a Gold Run shirt for another hit out. What’s an extra 5km, right Kurt?
Quotes of the Day
I'm going to race a few marathons until they bury me in a gutter somewhere."
- Australia's Kurt Fearnley on what's next.
If anyone finds me on a doubles court again, shoot me. It's an incredibly intense game, it's a brain ache"
- English squash player James Willstrop, following his bronze medal win in the men's doubles.
It's been over 11 years since I competed and I've now got three children. I wanted to come back and show them you can do anything."
- Eliza Ault-Connell on her decision to return to the roads, after her silver medal-winning performance in the women's T54 marathon..