This article originally appeared on athletics.org.au – home of Athletics Australia: http://www.athletics.com.au/News/denny-cleaver-and-doyle-deliver-day-1-afternoon-session-cg2018
Queenslander Matt Denny has won silver in the men’s hammer in an outstanding display of clutch throwing as he set a new personal best of 74.88m. The throw was also a new state record and consolidated his position as Australia’s fourth-best thrower ever.
The 21-year-old was looking down and out after two fouls but dug deep to move into 2nd place with his third throw of 73.82m before hitting his best effort in the fourth round.
The former world youth discus champion described the pivotal moment in the competition when preparing for his final three throws after that shaky start “It was weird, I was more nervous in my first two throws, I was even more nervous after the third… I walked back to my sports psychologist Jonah and he said to me ‘It’s just context, that’s all it is, the pressure is put on by external factors, it doesn’t matter, it’s still another throw’.
England’s Nick Miller won with a new British and Commonwealth Games Record of 80.26m. Mark Dry (SCO) was third in a season’s best 73.12m
Denny won Australia’s first medal in the event since Stuart Rendell captured gold in Melbourne in 2006. He has improved by over 1.5m this season 2018, and said of his transformation ““I’m a completely different person to last year, I know that’s totally cliche, but I’m a new person, a new athlete”.
In his international debut, Victorian Jack Dalton equalled his personal best of 68.28m to place eighth. And it was a solid effort from Huw Peacock too with the Tasmanian finishing 11th with a best throw of 65.19m.
It was further success in the field for Australia in the women’s T38 Long Jump as NSW jumpers Erin Cleaver (silver) and Taylor Doyle (bronze) sent the home crowd into a frenzy with their silverware.
Cleaver lept 4.36m and Doyle 4.22m, as they joined Olivia Breen from Wales on the podium. Breen, the hot favourite, set a new Games record with 4.86m for the gold.
Quote of the day has to go to Cleaver whose reaction to the wild cheering and support was priceless “I was thinking ‘oh crap!’ because I’ve never had a crowd cheering for me.”
Kailyn Joseph (NSW) was fifth, with a leap of 4.06m, rounding out a fantastic competition for the Australian para-jumps team.
In the final of the men’s 5000m Stewart McSweyn (TAS) ran an intelligent race, biding his time through early tactical laps, as the Ugandan and Kenyan athletes made a break for gold with four laps to run, McSweyn gritted his teeth and endured violent changes in pace, finishing fifth in 13:58.96, behind winner Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) (13:50.83), Mohammed Ahmed (CAN) (13:52.78), and Kenya’s Edward Zakayo (13:54.06).
McSweyn described the start line introduction as “special”, noting the chilling roar of the home crowd. The King Island native pushed his body to previously unknown extremes in pursuit of a medal.
“I thought with two laps to go I could see the guys battling for third not pulling away too much, I focused on myself and tried to run that last 800 metres as quick as I could, if I got a medal, great, otherwise I knew I’d given it my all” said the Tasmanian.
Fellow Australian’s Morgan McDonald (NSW) and David McNeill were seventh (14:11.37) and 11th (14:24.51) respectively after both battled nagging injuries in the lead-up to the Games.
Rohan Browning (NSW) placed third in his men’s 100m semi-final in 10.26 (-0.8) and was ranked ninth overall to miss progressing to the final by 5 hundredths of a second. The 20-year old sprinter has continued to built upon a breakout 2017, which saw him represent Australia at the World Championships as a 19-year old. Browning will race the 4 x 100m relay later in the athletics program.
The articulate sprinter was philosophical about his performance saying “It’s a fraction of seconds that differentiate the semi-finalists from the finalists and the great from the good. I’m still in the nascent stage of my career. You always want to run against the best. You don’t want to run against chumps.”
Trae Williams (QLD) was fourth in his men’s 100m semi-final in 10.28 (-0.3) and overall ranked 11th. A season which has seen Williams claim a national title and race to a personal best of 10.10, the fastest 100m time by an Australian since 2007, will give Australian sprint fans substantial entertainment in forthcoming seasons.
Damien Birkinhead (VIC) enjoyed a successful 25th birthday, requiring only one throw to progress through qualification in the Men’s Shot Put, topping his group with a throw of 20.47m.
International highlights from the Sunday afternoon session included Tom Walsh (NZ) breaking the Games Record in Men’s Shot Put qualification, taking one throw, the current World Champion launched out to 22.45m.
Olympic finalist Steve Solomon (NSW) looked like his old self as he cruised into the 400m semi-finals with a convincing heat win of 45.39. The Duke University student ran a strong top bend to hit the lead with 80 metres to run. Solomon, a finalist at the London Olympics has battled injuries in recent year but returned to form this season with an Australian indoor 400m record of 45.44 in the US in February.
Melissa Breen (ACT) placed fifth in her women’s 100m semi-final in 11.76 (-0.1) and did not progress to the final. Earlier, the Australian record-holder had progressed from the first round with 11.65 (2.1). Breen has won a personal battle with injury to take her place on the start line at the Games and will race in the 4 x 100m relay later in the week.