Our throwing queens, in judo and shot put, brought home the medals for our wāhine in NZ’s most glittering day so far at these Commonwealth Games; LockerRoom sums it up in our Day 6 wrap.
Performances of the day
There will be no bragging over their Christchurch dinner table, but Moira de Villiers can claim she went one better than her husband, Jason Koster, after winning bronze at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
De Villiers and Koster, who have two children, both won bronze at the 2014 Glasgow Games. But this time it was just de Villiers who came away with a medal, winning her fight for -78kg bronze from Cameroon’s Ayuk Arrey Sophina, while Koster, also fighting today, lost both his quarterfinal and repechage bouts. He’ll still be happy – he’s also de Villiers’ coach.
The 32-year-old de Villiers was one of three Kiwi wāhine to win bronze on Day 6 in Birmingham, along with fellow judoka Sydnee Andrews and shot putter Maddi Wesche. It was New Zealand’s most successful day yet at these Games, winning a stunning 10 medals – on the tatami mat, the athletics field, the mountain bike course, the squash court, the weightlifting platform and the pool.
De Villiers had to battle Sophina for three-and-a-half minutes, crediting her endurance for the bronze.
“It was a little bit of a dogfight and I’m ruthless on the ground, so I knew that I was going to get it,” de Villiers told Sky Sport. “I didn’t get what I came for but I still wanted to achieve something. It’s really important for me because coming back from having my daughter [Norah, four] I’ve only just competed internationally this year.
“I really wanted to come back and prove people wrong.”
Young Andrews was dominant in her +78kg bronze medal match, beating Northern Ireland’s Sarah Hawkes – who she trains with in Camberley in the UK. “It was a real honour to fight with her on the mat,” says the Gisborne 19-year-old. “You’re friends off the mat but when you’re on the mat, you’re selfish, you’re there to win.”
Maddi Wesche is “really shy” away from the athletics field, and feels a little uncomfortable in the lime-light. But she’ll have to get used to it.
With her now-trademark sunglasses on, 22-year-old Maddi Wesche secured bronze in the shot put, thriving off the electric crowd at Alexander Stadium.
“It was crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a stadium so loud. You have to thrive off these atmospheres and I loved it,” she told Sky Sport before receiving her first medal in a major senior competition. “It’s pretty surreal.”
It was Wesche’s first throw of six that ultimately secured a medal, putting the shot out to 18.84m, and taking the lead in the 12-strong field. She was overtaken in the third round by defending Games champion, Jamaican Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who looked to have gold sewn up with 18.98m, until Canadian Sarah Mitton’s final lob of 19.03m.
Wesche was a way off her personal best of 19.50m, thrown at last month’s world champs in Oregon, where she finished seventh.
New Zealand’s quickest woman on two feet, Zoe Hobbs, was thrilled with her performances today – first making the final of the 100m, and then finishing a long day as the sixth fastest woman in the Commonwealth.
Throughout these Games – and the world champs two weeks ago where she made the semifinals – 24-year-old Hobbs has run consistently well.
She posted 11.15s in finishing second in her semifinal – behind Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah – and then ran 11.18s in the final. Jamaican Thompson-Herah comfortably won gold in 10.95s.
While Hobbs’ final time was 0.1s slower than her personal best (set at the recent world champs), she was far from downhearted.
“This race was just about getting out there and leaving it all on the field, and I think I did that so I’m happy,” said Hobbs, who was only 0.02s off fourth place. “My starts have been going well, I just need to finish it off.
“I’ll just use this as experience and hopefully build on this for the next couple of years to come.”
Quote of the day
“I’m so stoked to have made that final and to run against the field here was incredible and this atmosphere is unreal so I’m just stoked to get out there and finish sixth,” – 100m finalist Zoe Hobbs.
The good news
It was a day of victories all-round for the Kiwi wāhine on the bowling green for both the triples and the pair.
Fresh from winning fours bronze, the triple of Val Smith, Tayla Bruce and Nicole Toomey had a real battle on their hands against England. The Kiwis only took the lead in the 14th end, coming out with a much-needed 18-14 victory to go through to post-section play.
Bronze medallist Selina Goddard and Katelyn Inch in the women’s pair remain unbeaten after two wins over South Africa, 19-10, and Niue, 19-16, making them top qualifiers in their group.
Kiwi swimmer Erika Fairweather on her way to the fastest time in the 400m free heat.
After posting the fastest qualifying time in the morning, Erika Fairweather just missed out on a medal in the 400m freestyle, finishing in fourth in a final stacked with stars. Fairweather posted 4m 07.27s in her heat, but the final was raced much quicker – Australian Ariarne Titmus setting a new Games record with 3m 58.06s. The 18-year-old Otago swimmer’s personal best (set in the final of the Tokyo Olympics) is 4m 02.28s, and she swam just over that time in the Commonwealth final, at 4m 03.84s. Fellow Kiwi Eve Thomas finished in sixth, with a time of 4m 09.73s.
The not-so-good news
The favourite for the squash gold medal, Joelle King couldn’t make the podium this time around, losing the bronze medal match, 2-3. It was a repeat of the Gold Coast gold medal match – only this time Birmingham local Sarah-Jane Perry came out on top. King appeared calm but subdued during the first two games, even sharing a few laughs and smiles with the usually fiery Perry.
Perry came fighting back, winning the next two games to take it all down to the final game, where King finally started outwardly showing some emotion and yelling after winning points, and passionately demanding reviews. Both players hit the deck heavily in the final minutes, and King was sitting on match ball twice, but a fired-up Perry held on to win the final game, 14-12.
The heartbroken King will now have to turn her attention to the women’s doubles with Amanda Landers-Murphy, and the mixed doubles with Paul Coll – who earlier this morning became the first Kiwi man to win Commonwealth Games singles gold, beating Welshman Joel Makin 3-2 in a 97-minute marathon game.
The New Zealand beach volleyball duo of Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley faced their first defeat at the hands of Canada, fighting through the long first set to go down 30-32 and then losing steam in the second, 10-21. But all isn’t lost – they finish second in their pool and qualify for the quarterfinals.
Scottish mum-and-daughter 10km gold medallists, the McColgans
A tearful Eilish McColgan struggled through the Scottish national anthem, O Flower of Scotland, and you have to wonder when will we see her like again? Maybe if she has a daughter who one day wins Commonwealth gold in the 10,000m and continues what’s becoming a family tradition. After outkicking Kenyan Irine Chepet Cheptai on the final straight, McColgan ran over and hugged mum, Liz McColgan, who also won gold over the same distance in 1986 and 1990. (At the 1986 Edinburgh Games, McColgan beat Kiwi Anne Audain, who brought home silver).
“The White Ferns will look to carry momentum into their final pool play match against England tomorrow morning,” says Sarah Cowley Ross, our Comm Games expert. “Unbeaten in pool play with a semifinal spot secured, the T20 side will be doing everything to sharpen the sword against the home nation. It’s awesome to see Suzie Bates in such cracking form.
“Another ding-dong battle against England awaits the Silver Ferns in their final pool play game. The Ferns are building nicely but a hefty challenge awaits at the National Exhibition Centre venue against the defending champions and tournament favourites England.”
Who’s up next
THURSDAY AUGUST 4
HOCKEY: Black Sticks vs South Africa, 8pm
ATHLETICS: Julia Ratcliffe, Lauren Bruce, Nicole Bradley, hammer throw, 9pm; Keeley O’Hagan, high jump, 10.05pm
ROAD CYCLING: Henrietta Christie, Mikayla Harvey, Georgia Williams, individual time trial, 9pm
RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: Havana Hopman, Paris Chin, 11pm
FRIDAY AUGUST 5
BOXING: Troy Garton (60kg), 12.45am
DIVING: Mikali Dawson, 10m platform, 1.30am (potential final 6.30am)
CRICKET: White Ferns vs England, 5am
SQUASH: Mixed doubles, 5am; women’s doubles, 6.15am
ATHLETICS: Portia Bing, 400m hurdles, 6.35am
BADMINTON: Mixed doubles, 7am
NETBALL: Silver Ferns vs England, 8am