Kim Mickle (WA) has won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games women’s javelin final and fellow Australian Kelsey-Lee Roberts (ACT) has claimed bronze in the same event in a memorable evening session of Day Four of the athletics at Hampden Park in Glasgow (SCO).
Mickle, the 2013 IAAF World Championships silver medallist and a favourite for gold, made her intentions clear right from the outset. Her very first throw of the competition broke the Commonwealth Games women’s javelin record as it landed at 62.97m. The record didn’t last long however as she then broke it with her second throw of the competition which went even further. Her second attempt reached 65.96m, a distance that no one else in the event could match. Mickle threw 61.45m on her third attempt and fouled her three remaining attempts on purpose but it didn’t matter as she had won the gold even before taking her final throw.
“I’ve dreamed of this moment – well literally I’ve visualized it – for the last month,” said a delighted Mickle after the medal ceremony. “Every single night I’ve pictured myself on top of the dais. So I was just saying before I hope I don’t wake up in ten minutes … and it was another dream.
“It was the way I scripted it in my head, though for it to actually happen the way I felt it should of is pretty sweet.”
When asked about her first record-breaking throws Mickle said “That was a case of ‘make sure you get one out’ and nice and comfortable. The second one, once I knew that (first one) was out, that’s when I unleashed.”
Mickle’s victory was all the more remarkable because she had been carrying a painful ‘turf-toe’ injury during the competition.
“I unfortunately hurt it about four days ago pretty badly and I was trying and trying and trying … because obviously a toe, it kind of sounds a bit pathetic, but it was my turning pivot foot and it’s really sore so unfortunately I had to put a bit of local anesthetic in their just to numb it up and now it’s run out and I’m in immense pain. But it’s all worth it. Like I say, it’s only a toe. I’ve got nine other toes.”
The battle for the silver and bronze medals was intense with the third Australian in the event, Kathryn Mitchell (Vic), sitting in position to stand on the dais until the very final round. It was then however that Roberts unleashed her best throw of the competition of 62.95m to leapfrog both Mitchell and South African Sunette Viljoen into second place. Viljoen responded however with a throw of 63.19m of her own to snatch silver ahead of Roberts and consign Mitchell to fourth place despite her best of 62.59m.
“Coming In of course I always want to come in and throw a PB (but) winning the bronze medal, that was always the goal,” Roberts said. “This whole experience was all about learning as much as I can so I am better prepared for next time.
“It was actually a very close competition for the minor medals. Sunette came out and overtook me. I tried not to think about that. It’s probably one of the worst things you can do is think about numbers and think about places, so I tried to put that out of my mind and think about my rhythm and my timing. Just getting down the runway and executing a good throw, which I managed to do.”
In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Madeline Heiner (NSW) produced a new personal best time of 9:34.01 to finish just outside the medals in fourth place, while Genevieve LaCaze (Qld) also produced a lifetime best performance to finish in fifth in 9:37.04. The third Australian in the event, Victoria Mitchell (NSW) ran ninth in 9:37.04.
“The PB is a good result. It’s my first year back after eight years, and I’m happy with that. I’m stoked to be here, had a good run and can’t complain about placing fourth,” Heiner said.
“I’m sticking with athletics for sure. I’ve had a solid return. My progress has been good and I have every intention to stick with it and keep improving.”
In the women’s heptathlon Sophie Stanwell (NSW) finished the competition in fourth position after the final event of the two-day, seven-event competition. Stanwell finished with a personal best tally of 5,754 points, only narrowly behind bronze medallist Jessica Taylor of England on 5,826.
“I’ve done a 100 point PB so I’m happy,” said Stanwell. I came into the event ranked more than seventh so to get to this point is a big plus.”
In the men’s 800m Jeff Riseley (Vic) has advanced to the Final after a controversial incident where he was bumped by Canadian Brandon McBride with just under one lap to go. Despite almost falling Riseley recovered to finish his Semi Final in fifth place in the time of 1:47.82, but his time wasn’t fast enough to qualify him for the final. On reviewing the footage however, McBride was disqualified and the Referee subsequently determined that Riseley should run in the final.
Long jumper Fabrice Lapierre (NSW) came close to winning a second consecutive Commonwealth Games medal when he finished fourth. Lapierre, who won gold four years ago in Delhi, jumped a season’s best 8.00m (+0.9) and was just eight centimetres off the bronze medal. Teammate Robbie Crowther (Qld) finished in sixth place with his best leap of 7.96m.
In the men’s high jump Brandon Starc (NSW) finished in eighth place after clearing 2.21m. Fellow Australian Nik Bojic (Qld) finished in 12th place behind Starc on a countback after also clearing 2.21m.
Ella Nelson (NSW) advanced to the next round of the women’s 200m after finishing third in her heat in the time of 23.57 (+0.2). Ashleigh Whittaker (Vic) also moved to the Semi-Finals on Thursday after her time of 24.47 (-1.6) qualified her to move on.
In the morning session, IAAF World Youth Champion Eleanor Patterson (Vic) confidently dealt with the big occasion of her first open age international championship to progress to the women’s high jump final alongside teammate Hannah Joye (Qld).
Entering the competition at 1.81m, Patterson made light work of that height and 1.85m to sail into the last round where she will be challenged for a place on the podium by Lavern Spencer (STL).
“It was good to finally be able to jump. I’d been waiting around for a while but it was a great atmosphere. It was good to get the jumps done and get straight into the final,” Patterson said.
Competing in the men’s discus throw, Benn Harradine (Qld) also moved through to the final with a throw of 61.06m, which was a formidable result after the reigning Commonwealth champion was stung by a bee during competition. Julian Wruck (Qld) also progressed as the ninth longest thrower in qualifying with 59.02m.
In the women’s long jump, Margaret Gayen soared 6.34m (w: +3.4) to progress to the final, while a third place for Brittany McGowan (Qld) in the women’s 800m heats in the time of 2:03.08 saw her move through to the Semi-Final of the women’s 800m.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games commenced in Glasgow on Wednesday 23 July, with athletics competition spanning seven days from Sunday 27 July. The competing Australian athletics team is 98-strong, the largest ever to compete in the green and gold offshore.
Stay connected with the Australian athletics team by interacting with the Commonwealth Games Event Hub on athletics.com.au, or by joining the conversation on Twitter by following @AthsAust and using the hashtag #Glasgow2014.
For more information on the Commonwealth Games, including the competition schedule, please click here to visit the Glasgow 2014 website.
ATHLETICS DAY FIVE – AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION
Events on day five, together with competing athletes are listed below.
The session start time is listed in Australian Eastern Standard Time and events in the order of occurrence.
Session One – 3:00am AEST, Friday 1 August onwards at Hampden Park
Men’s Discus Throw (Final): Benn Harradine (Qld), Julian Wruck (Qld)
Women’s 200m (Semi-Final): Ash Whittaker (Vic), Ella Nelson (NSW)
Women’s 800m (Semi-Final): Brittany McGowan (Qld)
Women’s Long Jump (Final): Margaret Gayen (SA)
Women’s T54 Wheelchair 1500m (Final): Christie Dawes (NSW), Angela Ballard (NSW)
Men’s T54 Wheelchair 1500m (Final): Kurt Fearnley (NSW), Richard Colman (Vic), Richard Nicholson (ACT)
Women’s Discus Throw (Qualifying): Dani Samuels (NSW), Christie Chamberlain (NSW), Taryn Gollshewsky (Qld)
Men’s 800m (Final): Jeff Riseley (Vic)
Women’s 400m Hurdles (Final): Lauren Wells (ACT)
Women’s 200m (Final): Ash Whittaker (Vic), Ella Nelson (NSW)
Women’s 100m Hurdles (Round 1): Sally Pearson (Qld), Michelle Jenneke (NSW), Shannon McCann (WA)