Big athletics medal haul for China
Posted on 04/25/20 7:45 PM
Claire Tallent (l) shares a moment with Jemima Montag after the 20km walk at the Commonwealth Games.Jemima and the Birdman. As some wag duly noted, great name for a band, even better title for a golden double act.
Walkers Jemima Montag and Dane Bird-Smith got off to a flying start in the Commonwealth Games track and field competition with matching gold medals in the 20km races on Sunday.
But there was heartbreak for walking mum Claire Tallent, who was disqualified in the final stages of the women’s 20km when in first spot.
Overall it was a great day one, with tallying five podium finishes in four of the five medal events.
Feeling the pressure to get the host nation off to a flying start following the withdrawal of superstar Sally Pearson to injury, Bird-Smith delivered with a hard-fought win over England’s Tom Bosworth in the men’s walk.
The Queenslander crossed his wrists in his signature Birdman victory salute at the finish line.
“There’s so much pressure from ,” said Bird-Smith, the bronze medallist from the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Everyone just says nonchalantly ‘go for gold, bring home the gold’ and stuff and it’s so much tougher than that.
“I make it look easy on the day although it’s unbelievably hard.
“But it’s a privilege to have that type of pressure on you.”
In contrast to the high expectations on Bird-Smith, the 20-year-old Montag flew under the radar coming into her first major meet.
The women’s walk looked to be a race in two between her and Tallent, before the latter suffered a disqualification that left her “heartbroken”.
“I was just saying to her ‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry’ but she said ‘no, don’t say that. Enjoy this moment. This is your moment’,” said Montag.
“She is being a beautiful sport about it.”
Matt Denny completed the first leg of what would be an extremely rare double when he threw a personal best of 74.88m in the hammer to claim silver behind Englishman Nick Miller.
Denny is also chasing a podium finish in the discus – a feat that has only been achieved once before at Commonwealth level, back in 1938.
“We’re not done,” he said.
“I’ve got to come back next week and replicate it and show what I’m about.”
n duo Erin Cleaver and Taylor Doyle finished second and third respectively as Olivia Breen from Wales took the gold in the women’s T38 long jump.
Stuart McSweyn was the pick of the locals in the men’s 5000m, finishing fifth in 13 minutes 58.96 seconds behind gold medallist Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda.
Sixteen-year-old Kenyan prodigy Edward Zakayo was third.
Rising n sprint stars Rohan Browning (10.26) and Trae Willaims (10.28) came up just short in their bids to qualify for the men’s 100m final.
Jamaican flyer Yohan Blake, the 2011 world champ, confirmed his title favouritism with the fastest semi-final time of 10.06.
London Olympics finalist Steve Solomon looked impressive in winning his 400m opening-round heat in 45.39.