THE ATH­LETES

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - COMMONWEALTH GAMES - PAUL WE­STON

EV­ERY Games has “the mo­ment”, that un­scripted piece of mag­i­cal sport­ing the­atre.

Bronte Camp­bell’s lunge to the wall to beat sis­ter Cate in the 100m freestyle fi­nal had ev­ery­one in the stands and at home in their lounge rooms on their feet.

Pool­side later, Cate was full of praise for her sis­ter, who has been dogged by in­juries and was never the favourite for the event.

What will be older sis­ter’s re­sponse? “It is never easy be­ing the sec­ond Camp­bell and she is num­ber one now and I am thrilled for her,” Cate says.

She had ear­lier fired up all Aus­tralian ath­letes on the Queen’s Ba­ton re­lay run to Surfers.

“The rest of the world has come to our turf — let’s show them what we can do,” she said.

In the pool, 17-year-old Ari­arne Tit­mus was win­ning gold in races across ev­ery dis­tance and Mitch Larkin trumped Ian Thorpe’s men’s record. Both be­came in­stant sport­ing celebri­ties.

Who will for­get the mighty New Zealand net­ball team be­ing crushed by min­nows Malawi 57-53 in the Games’ big­gest up­set?

The emo­tion among the African girls as they hugged each other on the court, the wild scenes in the stands at the Gold Coast Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre.

This was an Ever­est reach for an un­der­dog and shock­ing fall for the un­beat­able Sil­ver Ferns.

Then there is the slow climb by Skye Ni­chol­son, who works out at Yatala box­ing gym. On the wall is the face of brother Jamie, 24, who died in a car crash in 1994, be­fore she was born.

A south­paw like her Olympian brother, driven by emo­tion Skye fights closer to­wards medal con­tention. Be­side her is Jamie in spirit, and her other late brother Gavin, al­ways in her cor­ner.

In the 10,000 women’s race, Aus­tralia’s trio Eloise Wellings, Made­line Hills and Celia Sul­lo­h­ern fin­ished un­placed. They were ex­hausted but waited.

Li­neo Chaka from Le­sotho was yet to fin­ish, more than five min­utes be­hind the win­ner, and three min­utes be­hind the run­ner in front of her.

The Aus­tralian girls walked across and put their arms around her. Sports­man­ship in spades.

“We’re there for each other and we’re all out there hav­ing a go. It was lovely to stand there and show what I hope was a bit of Aussie sports­man­ship,” Sul­lo­h­ern said.

Much like the crowd, em­brac­ing the in­clu­sion of dis­abled ath­letes in the sports sched­ule for the first time.

The tim­ing could not be bet­ter for three-time Par­a­lympic gold medal­list Kurt Fearn­ley, af­ter a gutsy sil­ver in his fi­nal 1500m race. We all waited for his words.

“In­clu­sion’s work­ing, we’re nail­ing this,” he said.

“I’ve been put in this po­si­tion of priv­i­lege over the past week that I would never have imag­ined be­ing in.

“Let’s have that same con­ver­sa­tion about what is hap­pen­ing here (on the Gold Coast) at home about our ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties, about our trans­port, about em­ploy­ment.”

This was a ma­jor sport­ing first, the legacy more than a medal. Gold Coast should be proud.

Pic­ture: AAP PHOTO

Aussie Mitch Larkin has five swim­ming gold medals in his suit­case.

Pic­ture: AAP IM­AGE

Ari­arne Tit­mus, of Aus­tralia, wins the women’s 400m freestyle fi­nal at Gold Coast Aquatic Cen­tre.

Pic­ture: AAP IM­AGE

Wheel­chair racer Kurt Fearn­ley ended his stel­lar ca­reer with sec­ond place in the men's T54 1500m fi­nal.

Pic­ture: DEAN LEWINS

Henry Frayne on his way to long jump sil­ver.

Pic­ture: AAP IM­AGE

Dane Bird-Smith won the men's 20km race walk.

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