Australia shinesh brightestb with Commonwealth Games tally
After a hugely successful start to the final day of competition two cruel, late body blows led to an air of opportunity lost for the host nation as the final curtain fell on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Three marathon wins, followed by another basketball triumph and victory on the squash court took Australia’s gold medal tally to 80, but there it remained thanks to late drama in both the netball and the women’s rugby sevens finals.
In the netball, England secured an astonishing last-second 52-51 victory against the world champions. Until now every Commonwealth Games final had been contested between Australia and New Zealand. England’s win, when the expectation here was that the hosts would saunter to victory, could prompt a major shift in the sport’s world order.
Soon after, Australia’s rugby sevens team fell to a 17-12 sudden-death extra-time defeat to New Zealand in the final at Robina.
Earlier, champion para-athlete Kurt Fearnley, one of the faces of these Games, bowed out of international racing after claiming gold in the first event of the day with a Commonwealth record for the T54 marathon.
The two-time Paralympic marathon champion, who also won silver in the T54 1500m, said he was ready to call time. “I’m grateful actually [to
be retiring] That just hurt. I busted myself out there, I’ve got nothing.”
David Palmer also bid farewell to his career on a high note, winning the men’s doubles squash title with Zac Alexander with victory over England’s Daryl Selby and Adrian Waller.
The Games ended on a flat note as organisers apologised after stinging criticism of the closing ceremony, when television viewers were unable to see the athletes entering the stadium with each nation’s flag bearer. The length of the speeches also had athletes and spectators heading for the exits long before the ceremony officially wound up.