This article originally appeared on athletics.org.au – home of Athletics Australia: http://www.athletics.com.au/News/marschalls-meteroic-rise-continues-day-5-evening-session-gc2018
Kurtis Marschall’s meteoric rise in international pole vaulting reached its newest peak on the Gold Coast as the young Australian won gold at the Commonwealth Games in a fascinating duel with a former world champion.
The young South Australian’s winning leap was a clutch jump at 5.70m which he cleared on the third attempt. Canadian Shawnacy Barber, who won the 2015 world title in Beijing, had earlier missed his third and final attempt and watched as the young Australian went clear to capture the title.
Marschall was elated with the win, saying “It was awesome – I can’t believe it. I was going out there in the top few and I didn’t know if I was up to the challenge. But I have had a few tough experiences in the past. I came second in the World Juniors in 2016 to a guy who was ranked way lower.” said Marschall, who is known throughout the athletics community for his never-failing grin.
“So I knew coming into this that I had that pressure on my back but I’d learnt from that experience and remembered that no matter who is in the competition and what height it is, that they have got a chance. Even if they have one more jump left. I proved that to myself that even if I have one jump that I can soar over that bar. ”
“In those high-pressure situations, you have to keep your head cool.”
The precocious 20-year-old has gone from strength to strength over the last three years since he burst onto the international scene as a teenager winning silver at the World Junior Championships in Poland in 2016. He competed at the Rio Olympics before racking up a series of top-eight performances on the European circuit including a seventh place in the London 2017 world championships. Earlier this year he was fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
The Gold Coast feat emulated the greats of Australian pole vaulting who have won gold at a Commonwealth Games – including duel winners Steve Hooker (2006 and 2010) and Trevor Bickle (1962 and 1966).
Compatriot Angus Armstrong‘s night came to a close early as with three misses at 5.45m, after clearing 5.35m on his first attempt.
Women’s Discus Throw
Throws fans were treated to a masterclass in the circle by Dani Stevens (NSW), obliterating the previous Games Record, Beatrice Faumuina’s mark from Kuala Lumpur in 1998, by 2.34m, with a golden throw of 68.26m.
“I think that was a great performance, I am really happy with throwing over 68m. I knew how electric this atmosphere was going to be”. Said Steven’s who winning throw was a season’s best by more than two-metres.
She was inspired by the Australian medal spree in the field from the previous evening in Carrara, saying “It was really emotional seeing Kathryn, Kelsey-Lee do so well, and especially Brandon, I know how hard he has worked and it was truly amazing to see him win gold for the country.”
The 29-year-olds opening throw was a relatively modest 61.39m, still good enough to win the competition, but clearly below her own expectations and indeed her form this season. With mild frustration etched across her face, she returned to the circle for round two an improved to 64.51m.
Improving again in round three (65.43m), Carrara Stadium’s crowd exploded in round four, instantly recognising the impressive exit velocity on Stevens’ attempt, a Games Record (68.26m), annihilating the previous record by over two metres.
A Commonwealth Games title builds Stevens’ resume as one of Australia’s greatest throwers, now a two-time Commonwealth Games champion, the 13-time national champion has shown early-season form that could see the 70-metre zone challenged in European competition.
Fellow Australian’s Taryn Gollshewsky (QLD) and Kim Mulhall (VIC) finished fifth and sixth respectively, as Gollshewsky improved on her ninth place in Glasgow with a throw of 55.47m. Mulhall surpassed her previous Games performance, an 11th place finish in Glasgow (Shot Put), with a throw of 54.93m.
Women’s Long Jump
Brooke Stratton’s silver medal was almost as sweet as victory given the Victorian was injured for much of the domestic season.
The Australian-record holder found form just in time, as she soared 6.77m on her last attempt to win silver behind Canadian Canadian Christabel Nettey.
Stratton was ecstatic with her performance declaring “I’m absolutely stoked with the silver medal. It’s so special. Having my family is in the crowd watching is so special.”
“It’s great to share the journey with my father (and coach). We’ve made it work all these years,” said Stratton.
It was an impressive series for Stratton and included ancillary jumps of 6.72m and 6.75m.
Injury had curtailed her Glasgow campaign as she was selected for the 2014 Commonwealth but did not make it on the runway.
Two weeks ago, in a prelude to the Commonwealth title, the pair finished one-two in Brisbane where just four centimetres separated the pair.
Here Nettey beat the Australian by seven centimetres with her opening leap of 6.84m.
It was the first women’s long jump medal since Bronwyn Thompson and Kerrie Rendell (nee Perkins) went one-two in Melbourne in 2006.Teammates Queenslander Naa Anang (6.22m) in ninth and Canberran Lauren Wells (6.16m) for eleventh were unable to recapture their form from the qualifying round.
Women’s T38 100m
Australia’s trio of para-sprinters took on the best in the world in front of a home crowd, as Rhiannon Clarke (WA), Ella Pardy (WA), and Erin Cleaver (NSW) raced world record-holder Sophie Hahn (England).
In a career-best performance, Clarke was superb with 13.17sec that slashed 0.51sec from her previous best.
Clarke, the youngest female member of the Australian team, was thrilled with her efforts “It is such a surprise that I ran my personal best. I am just so stoked the crowd was pushing me along, it was amazing. I didn’t want to stop, I just wanted to keep running.”
Hahn challenged her 2017 world record, narrowly missing by two-hundredths of a second as she was victorious in 12.46sec, a new Games Record.
Pardy set a season’s best of 13.48sec in finishing fourth, and in fifth, Cleaver’s 14.43sec was narrowly outside her lifetime best.
Australian’s Celeste Mucci (VIC) and Alysha Burnett (NSW) spent the evening competing in the shot put and 200 metres.
In a fantastic display of competitive throwing, both Australian’s threw personal bests, as Burnett’s 13.62m garnered 769 points in second place. Mucci meanwhile launched her final effort out to 12.22m and accumulated a further 676 points. Canadian Niki Oudenaarden edged out Burnett for top place, with a throw of 13.85m (784 points).
Shot put often poses a degree of difficulty for heptathletes, as a successful throwing regimen can be difficult to maintain amongst training for numerous sprint based disciplines.
Burnett and Mucci entered the 200 metres ranked first and fourth respectively, separated by 82 points.
Burnett ran strongly for the first 150 metres of her heat, appearing to hop slightly down the home straight, as a potential hamstring tweak slowed her progress to the finish line, a time of 26.76 (-0.3) adding 732 points.
Mucci faced off against World Indoor Champion (Pentathlon) Katarina Johnson-Thompson(England), pressuring the 22.79s athlete for 120 metres of the race. Mucci added 925 points to her total, with a performance of 24.59sec, three tenths outside her personal best.
Burnett finished day one ranked fifth (3502pts), as Mucci is third overall (3613pts), chasing second-placed Canadian Nina Schultz (3639pts) and Johnson-Thompson (3765pts).
It was a final that had everything. A generational talent in Nijel Amos (BOT), a pair of sub-1:44 Kenyans in Wycliffe Kinyamal and Timothy Kitilit, plus the fourth-placed finisher from the 2017 World Championships, Kyle Langford (England).
Two young Australian’s decided this wasn’t going to halt their earnest attempts on Commonwealth glory, as Luke Mathews (VIC) ran to a historic bronze medal in 1:45.60, and Joseph Deng (VIC) fought bravely after a big move at 500 metres to seventh place (1:47.20).
“Going through the bell I thought, “this race is mine”, but I kind of lost concentration on the back straight, I’m happy with third for now, but I’m sure I’ll go to sleep one day and it’ll probably haunt me that I could have won that race, but I’m lucky enough that I get another opportunity to try and improve in the 1500 tomorrow and the day after. Still, I’m really happy with third.
Mathews was inspired by Kurtis Marschall’s win in the pole vault earlier in the evening “As we were walking out onto the track, the Australian anthem started playing, and it just inspired me on the spot”.
A firm pace was set by the equal third fastest 800-metre runner of all-time, clipping through 200 metres in 24.60, Mathews kept things physical, protecting his space with a gentle warning arm reach to both Kenyan’s encroaching on his stride.
Deng was tucked in sixth at 400 metres, keeping his head up and searching for an opportunity to move up, as Mathews ran through the bell second, Amos leading in 52.10.
As the field reached the back straight, the spiritual decision-making department of two-lap racing came alive, as Kinyamal rolled the dice, slamming down a 12.3sec 100m split. Bringing the crowd to its feet, Kitilit and Amos raced past Mathews, as a small gap opened, Deng swung wide to find back straight real estate to create space.
Entering the final 100 metres, the unbridled carnage was unfolding, Amos was tying up, legs wobbling underneath him as Kinyamal extended his lead. As Amos rapidly slipped backwards, Langford made an audacious run home in lane three, veritably tearing past all-comers for silver (1:45.16PB) in a last hundred split at 13.25sec, as an early celebration from Kinyamal almost cost the Kenyan gold (1:45.11).
Mathews looked as if his race had been run with 100 metres remaining, digging deeper than ever before, the 22-year old launched a final assault with 50 metres to go, picking off a rapidly fading field, claiming a historic bronze in a time second only to his personal best (1:45.60SB).
Mathew’s became the first Australian for 16 years to win a medal in the event since Kris McCarthy won Bronze in 2002 (Manchester).