Your daily guide to the Kiwi women in action on the Gold Coast , with Suzanne McFadden.

Performances of the day 

In the final event on a rain-swept night at Carrara Stadium, hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe seized New Zealand’s sole gold for day six of the Gold Coast Games. 

Ratcliffe was a late qualifier for the New Zealand track and field team after battling back from injury, and was only considered a chance for a medal on the GC – despite winning silver in the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

The 24-year-old Princeton University graduate, who lives in Hamilton, took the lead with her first attempt, and never let go. She furthered her advantage with 68.80m on her second throw, with only Australian Alex ‘Hull-dog’ Hulley coming close to threatening Ratcliffe’s lead with 68.20m. When two of the golden favourites, Canada’s Jillian Weir and England’s Sophie Hitchon, bowed out at the halfway stage with three straight no-throws, and the rain began to bucket down, Ratcliffe’s medal chances looked even stronger.

It was Ratcliffe’s second-to-last throw of 69.94m that would secure her victory, and in the final round, when her two Aussie rivals couldn’t better their earlier attempts, the Kiwi was guaranteed gold even before she walked into the throwing cage for the final time. It was a hugely emotional moment for Ratcliffe, who missed qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics by 25cm. She  immediately ran to the crowd, and hugged her dad and longtime coach, Dave.

For six seconds yesterday, cyclist Linda Villumsen was in the gold medal spot at the end of the 25km road time trial at Currumbin. But within a blink, Australian rider Katrin Garfoot, who’d started a minute behind Villumsen, crossed the finish line to claim the gold. It was a dominant ride by favourite Garfoot, finishing 54s faster than the Kiwi.

But veteran time triallist Villumsen, who won gold at Glasgow four years ago, wasn’t unhappy to take home silver. “Obviously someone was a lot stronger than me today, and I just have to be happy with what I get,” she said. New Zealand track medallist Rushlee Buchanan was fifth, two and a half minutes off Garfoot’s blistering pace.

Quote of the day

“My arm is busted. It looks like it’s probably going to be a career-ending injury, which is a real shame. But I’m glad I’ve gone out trying to achieve my best on the platform.”  Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard unexpectedly made what could be her retirement speech at a function for New Zealand team family and media, after that ghastly-looking elbow injury which forced her out of the women’s 91kg-plus competition on Monday.

The good news

Boxer Alexis Pritchard is guaranteed to win a medal after fighting her way into Friday’s semi-finals of the 57kg division, having beaten Sri Lankan Keshani Hansika by unanimous decision.

The Tall Ferns will meet Australia in basketball’s semifinals in Brisbane on Friday, after fending off a spirited Mozambique side, 79-63, in Townsville last night; 2008 Olympic veteran Natalie Taylor top-scoring with 25 points and eight rebounds.

Gold medallist Jo Edwards was back on the bowling green with her lifelong friend Val Smith in the women’s pairs pool play, the former world champions continuing their winning ways with a 29-6 victory over Tonga.

The Silver Ferns can breathe a sigh of relief after Malawi beat Scotland by just one goal yesterday, helping the New Zealanders’ chance of making the netball semifinals on goal differential should they lose their match with the English Roses today. 

The not-so-good news

Women’s volleyball duo Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills left their medal chances in the sand last night, bowing out of the Commonwealth Games at the quarter-final stage, after an upset two-set loss to Cypriots Mariota Angelopoulou and Manolina Konstantinou, 21-10, 21-17. If it’s of any consolation to the Kiwi pair, the commentators claimed they’d seen the rally of the tournament, twice, during the match. 

Gold medallist Joelle King crashed down to earth with a loss in the opening round of the women’s doubles yesterday, with on-court partner Amanda Landers-Murphy. But not long after, she was in winning mode again, this time in the mixed doubles with silver medallist Paul Coll, beating Papua New Guinea in straight sets.

Swimmer Carlene Doyle finished eighth in the 400m freestyle final, where Australian winner Ariarne Titmus swiped the Commonwealth Games record off Kiwi Lauren Boyle, set at the Glasgow Games four years ago.

What the?

A Sunshine Coast mum who hated playing in her in-laws’ barefoot bowls tournament every Christmas, has won bronze in the women’s fours, alongside her two daughters. Rosemaree Rixon took up free lawn bowls lessons in a desperate bid to win the family tournament, and took her young daughters Rebecca and Connie along “to keep them off the internet”. The three women then ended up representing Malta at these Commonwealth Games, and won bronze by beating Canada in the medal play-off.

Coming up

Women’s pairs and triples in lawn bowls; Silver Ferns v England; Stella Ebert in rhythmic gymnastics; squash women’s doubles and mixed doubles pool play; boxing’s Tasmyn Benny in the 48kg semifinals, and Troy Garton in the 68kg quarterfinals. 

Medal count

5 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze

Suzanne McFadden, the 2021 Voyager Media Awards Sports Journalist of the Year, founded LockerRoom, dedicated to women's sport.

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