Commonwealth Games: Australia goes Gold

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On day one of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, the Australians saw medals of every colour and world records broken, placing them in second place on the medal tally board with five gold medals by the end of the day. 

Rio Olympic winner Mack Horton claimed Australia’s first gold medal of the games with an explosive performance in the mens 400m freestyle final. Horton recovered from sitting in fifth position throughout the first 200m of the swim but was able to charge through the pack within the last lap to take the lead from England’s James Guy and Aussie teammate Jack McLoughlin, who took out the silver medal. 

Outside of the pool, at the Anna Meares Velodrome, the women’s team pursuit cycling track team were quick to dominate their New Zealand rivals and ride to the second gold medal for Australia. Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Alexandra Manly showed their speed, overlapping the Kiwis to easily claim gold, within minutes of Horton’s win. 

Back at the aquatic centre, teenage swimmers were taking over the pool. 17-year-old Ariarne Titmus, looked fierce as she bypassed defending champion and Aussie teammate Emma McKeon and stormed toward Canadian Taylor Ruck, during the final lap of the women’s 200m freestyle final. Ruck held her lead by only 0.04 of a second, leaving Titmus with the silver medal. McKeon placed third, picking up another bronze medal for Australia in what was a nail biting finish. 

World records were broken by the Australians in and out of the pool. The Australian men’s track pursuit team rose to the occasion in the final against England. Both teams started off steady and fairly equal however in the back-end of the race the Aussies formed and maintained their lead. Leigh Howard, Jordan Kerby, Alex Porter and Sam Welford finished a whole 5.5 seconds ahead of the English, leading the green and gold to another gold medal along with a world record title, defeating the record by 0.04 seconds with a 3:49.8 time.

The velodrome saw another Australian gold medal won by Aussie duo Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch in the track sprint team event against neighbours New Zealand. 

The highlight of the first night of the games however would have to be witnessing Australia’s women’s 100m relay team thrash their own world record set in Rio by 0.6 of a second, finishing at 3:30.05. As well as defeating their own record, Shayna Jack, Emma McKeon and sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell defended the gold medal title by a mile, hitting the wall almost four seconds ahead of Canada. The crowd in the aquatic centre were the loudest they had been all night, especially when seeing Cate Campbell hold the body and a half lead set by Emma McKeon, watching her stay ahead of that red world record line and swimming a final leg in 51.00 seconds, a time that would beat the 100m freestyle record by 0.7 seconds. 

Australia also picked up four silver medals and six bronze medals over the day. Matt Wilson just dropped his lead in the men’s 200m breaststroke final to pick up a silver medal and Blair Evans scored Australia’s first medal of the games, claiming the bronze in the women’s 400m individual medley. Liam Schluter and Daniel Fox collected silver and bronze respectively in the men’s 200m freestyle final, defeated by world record holder English Thomas Hamer.

23-year-old Jake Birtwhistle defied his own expectations in the triathlon. After a slow start in the swim and ride, Birtwhistle came into the final run sitting in 12th position, he managed to chase down almost all his competitors, finding himself standing on the podium with a silver medal placed around his neck. 

Jess Gallagher lost to England’s Sophie Thornhill in the B and VI sprint final at the velodrome but still claimed a silver medal adding to the Australian tally. 

The Aussies have come out strong, redeeming themselves after a disappointing Rio Olympics, especially in the pool and it’s only day one. English rivals are ahead by only one gold medal, lets see what day two and our triumphant Aussie team will bring. 

 

 

 

 

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