Mollie O’Callaghan shocks McKeon as Kennedy wins Birmingham pole vault gold
- Australia claim more gold in gymnastics, judo and weightlifting
- Gymnast Kate McDonald upsets Georgia Godwin for on beam
Mollie O’Callaghan has shocked Emma McKeon and Shayna Jack to clinch gold in the women’s 100m freestyle, as Ariarne Titmus set an 800m freestyle Commonwealth Games record and Cody Simpson finished fifth in the men’s 100m butterfly final.
Australia raked in more gold medals in Birmingham on day five, when Australian pole vaulter Nina Kennedy kicked off the athletics with a comfortable gold, Kate McDonald upset gymnastics golden girl Georgia Godwin and the men’s wheelchair basketball team stood atop the podium, while the men’s 3×3 basketballers suffered an agonising final loss to England.
In the pool, Australia’s domination continued on the penultimate day of competition, with O’Callaghan fighting back from fourth at the turn to surge home and lead Australia’s clean sweep ahead of Jack in silver and McKeon in bronze.
“I’m really happy, and I’m happy to do it with these amazing girls, especially Emma,” O’Callaghan told the Seven Network. “She is an absolute idol, so it is really nice to race alongside her this time. And especially Shayna Jack too, coming back from stuff, so I’m very happy.”
Titmus was the other headline act, touching for her sixth Commonwealth Games gold medal in eight minutes and 13.59 seconds – a Games record that was quicker than the time which earned her Tokyo Olympics silver behind American Katie Ledecky.
In yet another clean sweep, Kiah Melverton and Lani Pallister took home silver and bronze.
Another 18-year-old reigned in the women’s 200m butterfly as Elizabeth Dekkers held off England’s Laura Stephens to stand atop the podium at her first Commonwealth Games. Brianna Throssell bagged bronze.
And Matthew Temple finished equal second in the men’s 100m butterfly final, a race in which Simpson placed fifth to cap the swimmer turned pop star turned swimmer’s return to the pool. The 25-year-old will now set his sights on attempting to qualify for the Paris Olympics.
“I think with experience comes confidence,” Simpson told the Seven Network. “I’m still gathering the experience, so still gaining confidence. I am happy to be here. And I think, win or lose today, I’m going to go back to the drawing board and make sure I come back stronger. I’m already way ahead of where I thought I would be at this stage.
“Especially now, people are swimming later into their 20s, it leaves so much room to be able to come into it later if you want to, and I want to inspire young people to know that they can do whatever it is they want to do.”
Col Pearse won the first men’s 100m butterfly S10 final ahead of compatriot Alex Anthony Saffy.
The athletics got under way with Kennedy in full flight, easing to women’s pole vault gold a fortnight after securing bronze at the world championships in Eugene.
Australians have now won the women’s pole vault on six of the seven occasions it has been contested at Commonwealth level – a sequence broken only when Canadian Alysha Newman saluted four years ago on the Gold Coast. Newman was forced to pull out early in Tuesday’s final due to a leg injury.
Meanwhile, weightlifter Eileen Cikamatana set a Games records en route to her first gold in the women’s 87kg class, snatching 110kg and lifting 145kg in the clean and jerk.
In the judo, Aoife Coughlan defeated Ebony Drysdale Daley, who secured Jamaica’s first Commonwealth Games judo medal.
And gymnast Kate McDonald celebrated her 22nd birthday by relegating Godwin to silver in the beam as Australia ended the last day of competition a further five medals to finish second overall on the medal count behind England.