The New Zealand Herald
Kiwi Julia Ratcliffe wins gold COMMONWEALTH GAMES
Julia Ratcliffe has gone a step further than in 2014, claiming a brilliant Commonwealth Games gold medal in the hammer throw. Ratcliffe put on a supremely consistent display of throwing at Carrara Stadium, pouncing when her main rivals failed, to claim gold with a best throw of 69.94 metres.
The 24-year-old had claimed silver in Glasgow, with a best throw of 69.96, but she produced a top display in wet conditions to win New Zealand’s first gold medal in the discipline last night.
Why was her consistency important? Well, as she reeled off six consecutive throws between 66 and 70 metres, her main rivals — Canada’s Jillian Weir and Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon of England — both failed to record a legitimate throw on their first three attempts. As a result, they were stunningly eliminated from the competition when the field was culled to eight halfway through.
All of a sudden, Ratcliffe was the woman to beat, having set a strong early standard. Her second throw of 68.60 was nearly matched by her fourth attempt of 68.56 — both throws better than anything her competitors could muster.
Her early efforts gave her a 60 centimetre lead over Australia’s Alexandra Hulley, and Hulley proved to be her only remaining rival as the event ticked down to a thrilling conclusion.
There, Ratcliffe found a new level, with her penultimate throw of 69.94 metres giving her breathing room.
She ultimately didn’t need it, with Hulley failing to fire on her last two attempts, and Ratcliffe taking home a famous gold.