Sport Other Sports Commonwealth Games 2018: Kurtis Marschall, Dani Stevens clinch athletics gold
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Commonwealth Games 2018: Kurtis Marschall, Dani Stevens clinch athletics gold

Kurtis Marschall celebrates
Kurtis Marschall confirmed he is a rising star of Australian athletics with a gold medal win. Photo: AAP
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Australia struck gold twice at Carrara Stadium, with Dani Stevens and Kurtis Marschall thrilling the home crowd with their respective victories.

Stevens was virtually unchallenged as she successfully defended her women’s discus crown, while Marschall edged out Canada’s Shawn Barber to win gold in the men’s pole vault final.

Few athletes in the track and field program on the Gold Coast have been more heavily favoured to win than Stevens, and the world championships silver medallist showed why with a Games record of 68.26 metres on her fourth throw.

Stevens’ four other successful throws would have been good enough to win gold, as India’s Seema Punia could only manage 60.41m in finishing in second place.

Dani Stevens
Dani Stevens won back-to-back gold medals in Comm Games discus. Photo: AAP

The win on the Gold Coast adds to Stevens’ victory in Glasgow four years ago, proving yet again why she is one of the best discus throwers on the international stage.

Marschall, a rising star of men’s pole vaulting, faced a tougher challenge when he needed to clear 5.70m on his third and final attempt to clinch the gold.

As predicted, the competition resulted in a showdown between Marschall and the 2015 world champion Barber when they were the only vaulters left in the final after both clearing 5.55 metres.

They each sailed over 5.65m but Barber came unstuck when he failed to clear 5.70m with his three attempts.

The 20-year-old Marschall, seventh at last year’s world championships in London, was spurred on by the roar of the crowd to get over 5.70m, although he could not clear 5.81m, which would have been enough to break Steve Hooker’s Games record (5.80m).

Earlier, fellow Australian Brooke Stratton claimed the silver medal in the women’s long jump final.

Stratton produced her best jump of the evening with an effort of 6.77 metres in the penultimate fifth round but it was not enough to snatch the gold from the grasp of Canadian Christabel Nettey, who won with 6.84m.

England’s Shara Proctor was the bronze medallist with 6.75m.

Stratton, who finished seventh in the Rio Olympics and sixth at last year’s world championships, endured an injury-marred preparation after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot late last year.

The injury left her struggling for confidence once she returned to competition during the summer but she began to find form inside the month leading into the Games.

Success in men’s beach volleyball, women fall short

Australia won beach volleyball gold in a tense men’s final against Canada which went down to the wire in a deciding set.

Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumaan came out on top in a thrilling three-setter, beating Samuel Pedlow and Sam Schachter two sets to one.

McHugh regularly came up big in the late clutch points to give the Aussies a one-set lead, before Canada levelled the ledger thanks to scrambling saves from Pedlow, diving at full stretch to save a smash and allow Schachter to finish off perfectly.

Locked at a set apiece, the wheels looked like they were starting to fall off for the Australian pair, only for a crucially-timed streak of points allowed Australia to level at 12-12 in the decider.

It looked to have shaken the Canadians with some errant serving, with Australia wrapping up the final set 18-16.

Damien Schumann and Christopher Mchugh
Aussie pair Damien Schumann and Christopher McHugh celebrate their gold medal. Photo: Getty

“I can’t believe that just happened,” an ecstatic Schumaan said.

“After being behind 9-12 [in the third set], we thought we’d just ride it out and see what happened.

“To win a gold medal is absolutely unbelievable. The Canadians are a top 10 side and they are incredible.”

Australia’s women did not fare as well as the men, coming up against an efficient Canadian team to lose in straight sets.

Mariafe Artache del Solar and Taliqua Clancy fought bravely, often levelling from well behind in both sets, but the pairing of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes proved too good on the night.

More bowls gold

Australia won the gold medal in the B6-B7-B8 triples in lawn bowls on Thursday afternoon.

Australia’s team of Josh Thornton, Tony Bonnell and Ken Hanson beat New Zealand 14-13.

-ABC

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