News World Australia’s history-making marathon mum and a dramatic velodrome crash at Commonwealth Games
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Australia’s history-making marathon mum and a dramatic velodrome crash at Commonwealth Games

Jessica Stenson ahead of Namibia’s Helalia Johannes and Kenya’s Margaret Wangari Muriuki. Photo: AAP
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It was a day of thrills and a “terrifying” spill at the Commonweath Games in Birmingham on Saturday (local time), with an Australian mum making history in the marathon, and a dream-shattering crash in the velodrome.

On Sunday morning (Australian time), Australia is leading the medal tally with 11 gold, five silver and nine bronze (25 medals total), followed by New Zealand, England, Scotland and Canada.

Here’s a wrap of Australia’s overnight athletic endeavours.

Marathon mum

Australia’s Jessica Stenson has won a history-making gold medal in the marathon after having twice won bronze in the event at the Commonwealth Games.

Drawing inspiration from her son Billy and the late Kerryn McCann, the
the 34-year-old mum dropped off all challengers one by one on the way to an incredible victory.

Stenson returned to the sport after the birth of her first child in 2019. She had previously won bronze at the Gold Coast in 2018 and Glasgow in 2014.

She crossed the line beaming with joy in a time of two hours 27 minutes 31 seconds, with Kenyan Margaret Muriuki 29 seconds adrift in second place.

It made Stenson the first female marathoner to win three Commonwealth medals.

Jess Stenson was ecstatic to cross the finish in first place. Photo: AAP

Australian women have now won six of the 10 Commonwealth marathons.

Stenson’s triumph was the first for Australia since McCann secured the second of her two successive golds in 2006, before passing away two years later, aged 41, after a battle with cancer.

“I was thinking of Kerryn out there,” Stenson told reporters.

“I thought about Kerryn’s closing kilometres in that battle against the Kenyan woman as she entered the MCG (to win the 2006 Commonwealth title).

“All of that history really turns into strength that we can use to try and continue that history.”

Jessica drew on her experience as a mum to Billy. Photo: AAP

She said being a mum changed how she ran.

“I’m a more relaxed runner as a mother; I can just enjoy the process a bit more,” said Stenson.

“I really wasn’t thinking about the outcome today; I was just trying to tick off each 5K and that ‘s what you do as a mum.

“You can’t think too far ahead.

“It’s just one moment at a time and you can’t control it.

“You just have to respond to what is happening and I think that gives women a lot of strength as parents.”

Liam Adams led the marathon for nearly half the race. Photo: AAP

In the men’s marathon, Liam Adams was unlucky not to be rewarded with a podium place after a brave display of front-running.

The self-described “weekend warrior” balances running with a 40-hour work week as an electrician in Melbourne.

Adams surprised all comers when he kicked away after two kilometres and led for more than half the race.

He was overtaken by Ugandan winner Victor Kiplangat and Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu, then couldn’t chase down bronze medallist Michael Githae.

The 35-year-old ultimately finishing fourth — just seven seconds off a medal.

It is the best result of Adams’ career, which has included two Olympics and three Commonwealth Games, without a shoe or clothing sponsor.

“Tough but I’ll take that. I’m pretty proud of that run,” Adams told reporters.

“Those guys are professionals. I’m amateur.

“So I’m working 40-hour weeks, they’re not — they’re probably running 40-hour weeks.”

Victor Kiplangat won Uganda’s first Commonwealth marathon title in 2:10:55.

Madison de Rozario has added another gold to her career tally. Photo: AAP

Earlier on Saturday, wheelchair marathon racing star Madison de Rozario triumphed in the women’s T53/54 race, adding to her glittering array of golds.

There was a sense of inevitability about Saturday’s marathon and, true to form, De Rozario claimed the opening event of the 2022 Games athletics competition in one hour and 56 minutes.

De Rozario is favoured to complete the T53/54 marathon/1500m double for a second straight Commonwealth Games.

‘Pretty terrifying’ crash

Australian cyclist Matt Glaetzer’s bid for a fifth Commonwealth gold medal has been shattered by a dramatic high-speed crash.

Australia’s top sprint cyclist was lying battered and bruised on London’s Olympic velodrome track after the bad spill in the quarter-final on Saturday.

The accident left his kit torn and tattered and resulted in Brit Joe Truman needing oxygen at the side of the track before he came round from concussion.

The devastating drama occurred after Maeve Plouffe, tipped as the next big Australian women’s cycling star, won a second medal in the space of 24 hours after adding the 3000m individual pursuit silver to the gold she annexed in the team event.

And following up from the track team’s hat-trick of golds on the opening day, Plouffe’s fellow pursuiter Conor Leahy also grabbed his second bronze in two days in the men’s 4000m individual event.

But the two medals were overshadowed by the crash featuring Glaetzer, who was seeking to win the keirin sprint for the third successive time.

In a clash of wheels with four riders all jockeying for position on the final circuit, Glaetzer was sent sliding and spinning to the floor but, though he looked stunned and was clearly hurt, it was Truman who suffered most.

There was loud applause in the arena when he sat up after his medical treatment and appeared to be fine.

Earlier in the dramatic session for Australia, Plouffe’s colleague Sarah Roy missed out, beaten in the 3000m bronze medal race.

Adelaide’s 23-year-old Plouffe had been thrilled on Friday to be part of the quartet which smashed the Games record en route to striking team gold and smiled afterwards that she was now after the individual title.

But Plouffe, who’d clocked the second fastest time in qualifying to set up a final against the brilliant New Zealander Bryony Botha, found the Kiwi far too strong in the showdown.

Botha, smashing the Games record of 3 minutes 19.836 seconds that she’d set in the morning, clocked a searing, world-class 3:18.456.

Plouffe ended 8.666 seconds behind, exhausted in 3:27.122.

In the third-place race, 36-year-old Roy, the versatile veteran who’d finished fifth in the road race four years ago, also had to give best to Neah Evans.

Diamonds shine

Australia had little trouble dispatching Scotland 83-30 in their second Commonwealth Games netball match.

Following on from Friday’s 95-18 demolition of Barbados, the Australians saw off an early challenge from the Scots on Saturday and then stepped up a gear.

Player Courtney Bruce said while Australia enjoyed a comprehensive win, there remained room for improvement.

“We have another level to go to — we didn’t let the ball go at times and the options were on,” she said.

“Against stronger teams, we might get some hold balls.

“We’ve definitely got to learn to give the ‘ugly’ ball at times and build momentum.

“In defence our connections were better, but we can connect more as a unit.”

Australia’s next pool game is against South Africa on Monday.

Australia’s women’s sevens team have beaten New Zealand 17-12 in the Commonwealth Games semi-finals.

Gold medal play-off

Maddison Levi powers Australia to the gold medal final. Photo: AAP

A Maddison Levi hat-trick has powered Australia to a 17-12 win over New Zealand to earn the side a spot in the gold medal game in Birmingham.

Australia trailed 12-5 at halftime but Levi twice blazed down the left wing to put them ahead and then made two clutch tackles on New Zealand star Portia Woodman to deny them a try after the siren.

Victory was revenge for New Zealand’s extra-time win in the gold medal game on the Gold Coast four years ago and came after Australia were shocked 17-12 by Fiji earlier in the day.

They will play the winner of Canada and Fiji in the final on Sunday night.

Squashing the opposition

Australian squash player Jess Turnbull has made her Commonwealth Games debut with a win over a Maltese opponent she plays against most weeks.

Turnbull opened her Birmingham Games account with a 3-1 round of 32 women’s singles win over Brisbane-based Colette Sultana, who is representing Malta, to continue Australia’s impressive start to the competition.

“It was tricky. She lives and plays in Brisbane, we’re very familiar, not only do we play in tournaments, we play in our weekly competition quite regularly,” Turnbull said, who followed through on her pre-Games vow to take the court with her hair dyed green and gold.

“We know each other’s games really well, so she’s really hard to play.”

HOW AUSTRALIA FARED ON DAY 2

Women’s Marathon – Jessica Stenson – Gold, Eloise Wellings – 4th, Sinead Diver – 5th

Women’s Marathon T53/T54 – Madison de Rozario – Gold; Christie Dawes – 4th

Men’s Marathon – Liam Adams – 4th, Andrew Buchanan – 7th

T53/T54 – Jake Lappin – 5th

NETBALL

Group Matches – Australia bt Scotland 83-30

HOCKEY

Women’s Group Matches – Australia bt Kenya 8-0

SWIMMING

Morning session

Men’s 200m Freestyle Heats – Mack Horton, Elijah Winnington – both qualified for final, Zac Incerti – 15th

Women’s 50m Freestyle Heats – Emma McKeo, Shayna Jack, Meg Harris – all qualified for semi-finals

Men’s 100m Breaststroke Heats – Zac Stubblety-Cook, Josh Yong, Sam Williamson – all qualified for final

Women’s 100m Backstroke Heats – Kaylee McKeown, Minna Atherton – both qualified for semi-final, Mollie O’Callaghan- DNS

Men’s 400m Individual Medley Heats – Se-Bom Lee, Kieren Pollard, Brendon Smith – all qualified for final

Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay Heats – Australia – qualified for final

Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay Heats – Australia – qualified for final

Night session

Women’s 50m Breaststroke Final – Chelsea Hodges – Bronze, Jenna Strauch – 5th, Abbey Harkin – 7th

Women’s 50m Freestyle Semi-Finals – Emma McKeon, Shayna Jack, Meg Harris – all qualified for final

Men’s 200m Freestyle Final -Elijah Winnington – Bronze, Mack Horton – 4th

Men’s 50m Freestyle S13 Final – Jacob Templeton – Bronze, Braedan Jason – 4th, Oscar Stubbs – 5th

Women’s 50m Freestyle S13 Final – Katja Dedekind – Gold, Kirralee Hayes – Bronze, Genna Jones – 4th

Men’s 100m Breaststroke Semi-Finals – Zac Stubblety-Cook, Josh Yong, Sam Williamson – all qualified for final

Women’s 100m Backstroke Semi-Finals –  Kaylee McKeown, Minna Atherton – both qualified for final

Men’s 400m Individual Medley Final – Brendon Smith – Silver, Se-Bom Lee – 5th, Kieren Pollard – 6th

Women’s 100m Butterfly Final – Emma McKeon – Silver, Brianna Throssell – Bronze, Alex Perkins – 4th

Men’s 100m Backstroke Final – Bradley Woodward – Bronze, Mitch Larkin – 6th,  Josh Edwards-Smith – 8th

Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay Final – Australia – Gold

Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay Final – Australia – Gold

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Group Matches: Men’s – Australia bt Maldives 2-0

BOXING

Men’s Featherweight Round of 32 – Charlie Senior (AUS) bt Christon Amram (NRU) 5-0

TABLE TENNIS

Women’s Team Qualifying Round 3 – Australia bt Maldives 3-0. Quarter-final – Australia bt Canada 3-0

Men’s Team Qualifying Round 3 – Australia bt Mauritius 3-0

LAWN BOWLS

Preliminary rounds

Women’s Singles Round 3 – Ellen Ryan (AUS) bt Jordan Kos (CAN) 21-17

Para Men’s Pairs B6-B8 – England bt Australia 13-12, Australia bt Scotland 21-15

Men’s Triples – Australia bt Jersey 15-14

Para Women’s Pairs B6-B8 – Australia bt South Africa 18-7, Australia bt New Zealand 19-8

Men’s Pairs – South Africa bt Australia 17-8

Women’s Fours – Scotland bt Australia 16-9

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS

Women’s Team Final – Australia – Silver

Individual Finals Qualification – Georgia Godwin (all-around, vault, uneven bars, beam), Emily Whitehead (all-around, floor), Kaye McDonald (eneven bars, beam), Romi Brown (floor)

TRACK CYCLING

Women’s Sprint – Kristina Clonan – quarter-finals, Breanna Hargrave – quarter-finals, Alessia McCaig – 15th in qualifying

Women’s 3000m Individual Pursuit – Maeva Plouffe – Silver, Sarah Roy – 4th, Sophie Edwards – 10th

Men’s 4000m Individual Pursuit – Conor Leahy – Bronze, Luke Plapp – 8th, James Moriarty – 9th

Men’s Keirin Matthew Richardson – 4th, Tom Cornish – 8th, Matthew Glaetzer – 11th

RUGBY SEVENS

Men’s Group Matches – Australia bt Kenya 7-5, Quarter Finals – Australia bt Samoa 7-0; Women’s Group Matches – Fiji bt Australia 17-12, Semi Finals – Australia bt New Zealand 17-12

BASKETBALL 3X3

Men’s Group Match – Australia bt Trinidad & Tobago 21-6, Australia bt New Zealand 21-11

BADMINTON

Mixed Team Event Qualifying Round 2 – Australia bt Pakistan 3-2, Round 3 – Australia lost to India 4-1

SQUASH

Men’s Single’s Round of 32 – Rhys Dowling lost to Chee Wern Yuen (MAS) 3-1

Women’s singles round of 32 – Jessica Turnbull (AUS) bt Colette Sultana (MLT) 3-1, Donna Lobban (AUS) bt Rachael Grinham (AUS) 3-1

-with AAP