Double Gold for Australia - Fearnley wins Farewell
Kurt Fearnley has won his final marathon wearing the green and gold in a dominating performance at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The five-time Paralympian hit the lead in the first 5km and never looked back, crossing for a historic win in 1:30:26.
“It doesn’t get better than that,” said Fearnley.
“All I kept thinking over these last weeks was that I have received so much from so many people all I can do is go out and hurt. Go out there and fight for that hour and a half.”
“My coach Andrew Dawes said yesterday to go out and back yourself. I said to him ‘I’ll back myself alright’ from that first moment I get a metre on them.”
Fearnley will retire from representative honours but will continue to race on the international circuit, and will race in London next week.
“I’m going to race marathons until they bury me in a gutter but I’m not going to be able to find that sort of stuff. That sort of stuff when you’ve got the green and gold on you have got to be fierce and you have to do whatever you’ve got to deal with. You put it on and you just fight.”
At each subsequent 5km split the 37-year-old extended his lead, hitting the halfway point in 44.10 to lead by 1 minute and 11 seconds from a group of three - two Englishman, John Smith and Simon Lawson and the Canadian Tristan Smyth.
From that turn around point at Burleigh Heads, despite the headwinds, Fearnley went further away. At one point he enjoyed a buffer of more than 1 minute 40 seconds.
Behind him, the group of three of Smith, Lawson, Smyth traded places as they slipstreamed to counter the strong wind from the north over the final 21km. They finished 1minute and 18 seconds behind the Australian as the Canadian was the unlucky one to miss a medal.
Victoria’s Jake Lappin was sixth in 1:37:34.
Women's T54 Marathon
In the women’s T54 marathon Madison de Rozario has become the only Australian to win double gold in athletics at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with a superb win in the T54 marathon to compliment her win in the 1500m earlier in the week.
The West Australian won by 11 seconds from compatriot Eliza Ault-Connell in 1:44:00.
The three-time Paralympic medallist was thrilled with a fairytale finish to the Games.
“That was amazing. I love the marathon. I love this distance. There were four of us who stayed together for the entire marathon.”
And the 24-year-old was in awe of the home-crowd support.
“The people watching were amazing. I’ve never been in a race where people knew athletes by name. They knew me. They knew Eliza and Jane.”
“Australia definitely turned it on this morning.”
De Rozario, who is coached by legendary Paralympian Louise Sauvage, emulated the duel gold of Uganda’s Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei and South African Caster Semenya who won the 5000m/10000m and 800/1500m respectively earlier in the Games.
Ault-Connell came out of retirement to race at the Games and it was a monumental decision as she won a medal 12 years after last wearing the green and gold in winning silver over 800m at the 2006 Melbourne Games.
"Three years ago I didn't think this would ever happen, it kind of came out of the blue.”
"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.
"I absolutely loved being out there today, it was a great reminder of what I love doing. I fully intend to continue doing that." said O’Connell.
England's Jade Jones was third in 1:44:20.
Pat Birgan and Sean Whipp for Athletics Austalia
Statistics and superlatives courtesy of David Tarbotton
Medals Results and Statistics