Drama-filled final day on Gold Coast

NET LOSS::Australia and New Zealand have always made the netball finals, but England snatched gold with a last-second goal as the Silver Ferns failed to medal entirely

AP, GOLD COAST, Australia

Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - Page 10

One of the most dramatic scenes at the Commonwealth Games came early on the final day.

Callum Hawkins of Scotland was leading the marathon yesterday morning when he became physically distressed and collapsed with about 2km remaining. Michael Shelley ran past and defended his title.

Hawkins, who had about a two-minute lead over Shelley, first became disoriented in the humid conditions at about the 38km mark of the 42.2km race, briefly holding himself up next to a race barrier to try to regain his balance.

He was able to continue, despite having difficulty running in a straight line, but fell to the road 2km later and after several minutes received medical attention as Shelley raced past him on the course.

“I wasn’t sure what was going on. I had a couple of mates [in the crowd] who said Callum was in a bit of trouble. They told me to keep going and gave me encouragement,” Shelley said. “I just tried to hang on.”

Hawkins was taken to a hospital for testing and Scotland team officials said “there are no major concerns for his welfare at this stage.”

The team shared a message from Hawkins while the closing ceremony was underway, saying: “Thanks for all your messages of support today and to the Gold Coast University Hospital staff. I am now feeling much better.”

Television commentators were critical and there was backlash on social media because of the delay getting medical assistance to Hawkins, particularly after security tried to move away spectators who were attempting to help him.

Shelley finished in 2 hours, 16 minutes and 46 seconds. Munyo Solomon Mutai of Uganda took silver with a time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 2 seconds, and Robbie Simpson of Scotland won bronze 34 seconds behind Mutai.

In the women’s marathon, Helalia Johannes of Namibia won gold in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 40 seconds with Australians Lisa Weightman and Jess Trengrove taking silver and bronze. Johannes became the first woman from Namibia to win a Commonwealth gold medal.

The closing ceremony included a section for Usain Bolt, who was in town to support his old Jamaica teammates and stepped in to do a guest DJ stint.

The ceremony included a handover to present the Commonwealth Games Federation flag to Birmingham, England, where the 2022 games are to be held.

Elsewhere at the Games yesterday, New Zealand beat Olympic champion Australia 17-12 in extra time in the first-ever women’s rugby sevens final at the Games, reversing the Olympics result at Rio de Janeiro, when the sevens made its first appearance at the Summer Games.

In a packed and raucous stadium at Robina, New Zealand made it two from two in the finals by upsetting Olympic champion Fiji 14-0 for the men’s gold.

In men’s basketball, a day after Canada qualified for the gold medal final with a last-second three-pointer, Australia made sure there were was no chance for any late heroics with an 87-47 win.

Thomas Abercrombie scored 26 points to lead New Zealand, who lost to Canada in the semi-finals, to a 79-69 win over Scotland to take the bronze medal.

In women’s netball, Australia and New Zealand have always played the gold medal final at the Games, but this time, Australia lost the final and New Zealand failed to win a medal.

England caused the biggest of upsets in the final, beating heavily favored Australia 52-51 with a last-second goal.

Earlier, Jamaica beat New Zealand 60-55 in the bronze medal match, meaning the Silver Ferns missed a Games netball medal for the first time.

Three-time Olympic silver medalist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia overcame a first-game loss to win the men’s badminton gold, beating India’s Srikanth Kidambi 19-21, 21-14, 21-14.

It was an all-Indian final in women’s singles, with Saina Nehwal beating Venkata Pusarla 21-18, 23-21 for gold.

Nehwal, who also won gold as part of India’s mixed team earlier in the tournament, last won the Commonwealth singles title in Delhi in 2010.

In the mixed doubles final, the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Gabrielle Adcock beat the fellow England pair of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith 21-19, 17-21, 21-16.

With all medals decided, Australia overwhelmingly won the medal race, both gold (80) and overall (198).

Second-place England had 45 golds, India 26 and Canada and New Zealand had 15 each.

Australia’s gold total was still short of the 84 they won in Melbourne in 2006.

The biggest surprise in track and field was that Jamaica, featuring the world’s fastest active sprinter and the women’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion, did not win a gold medal in the sprints.

After Yohan Blake on Saturday anchored Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team to bronze, Bolt took to social media to openly question if he had retired too early.

The Jamaicans won 10 gold medals at the Games in Glasgow four years ago, but managed just seven on the Gold Coast.

Caster Semenya completed a middle-distance double by winning the 800m and 1,500m in Games-record times, while her fellow South African Akani Simbine won a coveted 100m title.

Off the fields, there were controversies over the Games’ non-needles policy involving two Indian athletes.

Triple jumper Rakesh Babu and race walker Irfan Kolothum Thodi were banned from the Games and ordered to return home to India immediately after needles were found in the room they shared at the athletes’ village.