Best of GC2018: Day 8
The first Beach Volleyball medals in Commonwealth Games history were won, Mountain Bike thrilled crowds on the Nerang Mountain Bike Trails, Wrestling awarded its first gold medals and Lawn Bowls history kept on rolling through Day 8 of GC2018.
Here are some of the highlights from Thursday 12 April.
Australia and Canada claim Beach Volleyball history
Coolangatta Beach was a cauldron of cheers and celebration when Australia won the first ever Commonwealth Games men's Beach Volleyball medal in front of a home crowd.
It wasn’t without a fight - Australians Chris McHugh and Damien Schumann overcame a 12-9 deficit in the third set to defeat Canada's Samuel Pedlow and Sam Schachter in the gold medal match.
McHugh and Schumann had not dropped a set in the tournament coming into the final, and emerged victorious in a back-and-forth thriller in front of an electric crowd.
The Australians calmed a hard fought first set 21-19, with the Canadians fighting back to take an error-plagued second set 21-18.
After several missed match point chances, the Australians finally prevailed 18-16 when Pedlow’s final attack slammed into the net. New Zealand brothers Ben O’Dea and Sam O’Dea won bronze.
In the women's gold medal match, it was Canada who came out with the gold, with Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes posting a 2-0 victory over Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Taliqua Clancy.
"We wanted this so badly," Humana-Parades said. "This is our first gold medal. This is what we've been waiting for for so long."
"[Beach Volleyball] needs to grow into a world phenomenon. The people have just showed how amazing it can be."
Vanuatu defeated Cyprus in the women's bronze medal match, the second medal for Vanuatu at GC2018 - and in Commonwealth Games history.
Trials and triumphs on the Mountain Bike Trails
The Mountain Bike riders were tested on a challenging course at the Nerang Mountain Bike Trails.
New Zealand’s Samuel Gaze won in dramatic fashion, overcoming a puncture on the final lap of the men’s cross-country race. Gaze was neck and neck with teammate Anton Cooper before he had to attend to his deflated rear tyre. He lost 28 seconds in the change but clawed back, finishing at the same time at Cooper, 1:17.36 and just pipping him at the finishing line to win the gold.
“Although [Cooper] is my competition, I have great respect for him, and he’s the only reason I’m on the podium today. It was a bit of a shame having to overtake him, but that’s racing,” Gaze said. It was the reverse result to Glasgow – four years ago, it was Cooper who claimed gold and Gaze who ended up with silver.
In the women’s race, it was England who took the gold and silver. Annie Last finished in first place, followed by Evie Richards. “It was absolutely amazing,” Last said after the race. “I’m still waiting for it to sink in. The race went really smoothly. My legs were good and it all just came together.” Canada’s Hayley Smith won bronze.
Australia's Melissa Wu has claimed her first individual Commonwealth Games gold medal, winning the women's 10m platform event on her final dive. In second place leading into the final round, she performed under immense pressure to secure the victory.
Wu was battling injuries leading into the competition and said she was proud to win the gold. "It means so much to me, especially being at the Commonwealth Games because that's where it all started for me," she said.
"That was the start of my career (Melbourne 2006) and now to be at a second home games towards the end of my career, to be able to do that, I'm just so happy and so proud."
England's Jack Laugher won gold in the men's 3m springboard final with a total points score of 519.40. It was his second gold medal in less than 24 hours, having won the men's 1m springboard final the previous day.
Lawn Bowls delivers Australia's oldest gold medal
Australian para lawn bowler Ken Hanson became Australia’s oldest ever gold medal winner at a Commonwealth Games.
He made his debut at GC2018 at 68 years young. In a dramatic finish to the Open B6/B7/B8 Triples competition, Hanson along with Tony Bonnell and Josh Thornton beat New Zealand for the gold.
New Zealand came back from 10-3 down to narrow Australia’s lead to one shot, but Hanson delivered a stunning draw shot and sealed gold.
“It’s hard to describe my feelings,” Hanson said, after standing on the podium as the Australian anthem played.
“I have never been in this position before or never thought I would be, so I soaked it in, looked at my family and looked at the rest of my teammates and enjoyed the experience.”
On the greens, Australia continued its gold rush winning the women’s triples. The team of Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott and Rebecca van Asch overcame the Scottish team 21-12 to win the gold medal. England defeated Canada in the bronze medal match.
Wrestling for medals
Four gold medals were on offer on the mat at Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre today, with Canada and India winning two apiece.
Canadian favourite Erica Wiebe won the women’s 76kg, her second Commonwealth title in a row, over Nigeria’s Blessing Onyebuchi. Wiebe is also the reigning Olympic champion.
“It’s a familiar feeling but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s still a wrestling match,” Wiebe said about defending her gold medal. “It’s just my lucky to have a great day and keep the Commonwealth gold in Canada.”
Canada won another wrestling gold, with Diana Weicker winning the women’s 53kg freestyle Nordic wrestling final over India’s Babita Kumari.
India’s Rahul Aware won the men’s 57kg gold, scoring another in the men’s 74kg, courtesy of Kumar Sushil.
Kyron McMaster won the British Virgin Islands its first gold medal in an emotional 400m hurdles race, inspired by an unimaginable tragedy and the desire to inspire a nation in need.
Last year the British Virgin Islands were ravaged by Hurricane Irma, which claimed the life of McMaster's coach and mentor, Xavier Samuels. "I still think and talk about him every day," McMaster said.
"I even got a tattoo (on my inner arm) made of his favourite phrase, which was 'guidance'. Every day I look at it and it acts as motivation."
Photos of the Day
What You Might Have Missed
Legends meet at the Athletics
Australian athletics queen Cathy Freeman presented the medals for the women's 400m final at Carrara Stadium alongside Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Also spotted at Carrara Stadium were Usain Bolt and Chris Hemsworth.
Quotes of the Day
I just met Usain Bolt, it was the highlight of my year."
- Chris Hemsworth on sitting next to Usain Bolt watching Athletics at Carrara Stadium.
Although I carry a little weight, I keep myself fairly fit. I do a lot of walking. I consider myself fit enough to compete against these younger guys."
- Australian Lawn Bowler Ken Hanson on being 68 years old and competing in the Commonwealth Games.
I felt like I was riding with somebody else's legs. It's like I went to bed and the wrestler that I'm rooming with, we swapped legs and she's got my race legs and I've got her wrestling legs."
- Rebecca McConnell to ABC Gold Coast after coming sixth in the women's Mountain Bike race.
Rafael Nadal is one of my heroes, but I would definitely beat him in a game of table tennis."
- Indian table tennis star Harmeet Desai on his sporting idol.
I can't go to the beach and get a tan - I'm a ginger."
- English table tennis player Felicity Pickard on her post-competition plans.