Australia had a weightlifting gold and a new Commonwealth Games record in their grip before a jury decision agonisingly snatched it away.
Western Sydney weightlifter Kyle Bruce would have ascended to the top of the podium if he had secured his final lift of 183kg in the men’s 81kg event on Monday.
He had the gold and the Games record physically in his hands – but in a cruel twist, the jury did not clear his clean and jerk, and the dream was over by the narrowest of margins.
Instead, England’s Chris Murray claimed the gold and the record by pulling off a lift of 2kg less.
Canada’s Nicolas Vachon made a valiant and aspirational attempt to overcome them both with his final lift of 187kg, but he could not secure it before the final buzzer and took out the bronze instead.
Athletes of every nation were quick to congratulate a jubilant Murray, unable to contain his tears as he took to the podium, while a crushed Bruce was consoled by his team.
In an emotional interview with Channel Seven after the event, Bruce said he drew quite literally from his late father’s strength in his efforts for golden glory.
“My dad actually passed away in 2015, and I just wear his compression shirt so he’s always there with me,” Bruce said, clearly overcome.
“He’s always with me and this one’s for him.”
By Erin Smith
Australia 74-49 South Africa
The Diamonds dominance continues bumping off South Africa, their first real test in the Games, but their smooth run could come to an end with key midcourter Paige Hadley limping off part way through the game.
Hadley was the only player to not take the court in the Diamonds’ opening game and played just 14 minutes in the win over Scotland.
The centre started the match against South Africa last night strong, which Australia won 74-49, and appeared to be moving very well.
Early in the second quarter, with the Aussies securing a strong lead, Hadly limped off the court clutching her calf and was swiftly ushered over to the physio bench.
She didn’t receive any treatment on court.
With the travelling training partners, which included midcourter Jamie-Lee Price, sent home prior to the tournament starting, as per the rules, Diamonds could be down to just 11 players, including vice captain Steph Wood who is also under management for a knee injury, for the remainder of the Games- severely impacting their midfield rotation ahead of the pointy end of the competition.
Earlier in the week coach Stacey Marinkovich had confirmed Hadley was carrying a “niggling leg injury” but it was more a matter of just managing her load.
Questions remain over whether Hadley sustained the injury in camp, prior to the training partners being sent home, with Netball Australia remaining tight-lipped on the situation.
Hadley emerged from the change rooms after the start of the second half, which Diamonds went into with a 40-24 lead, with ice strapped to her calf.
Kate Moloney came off the bench to play centre for the injured Hadley, Sunday Aryang replaced Jo Weston at GD and Steph Wood made way for Kiera Austin in the shooting circle.
News from Erin Smith who is watching the Diamonds against South Africa
Diamonds centre Paige Hadley has limped off the court clutching her calf and was hustled straight to the physio bench early in the second quarter.
The centre has been under an injury cloud being the only play not to take the court in the first game and playing just 14 minutes in the second game.
Diamonds were leading South Africa 35-19.
Kyle Chalmers has withdrawn from the 100m butterfly the morning after his huge 100m freestyle semi final swim.
Chalmers was due to swim in the heats on Monday morning (local time), but decided to pull out of the event, most likely due to the 100m freestyle final which he is due to swim during the evening session.
“He is conserving his energy, focusing on his 100m freestyle that he will swim later tonight,” Cate Campbell said of the decision.
“It’s not unexpected. It’s what I would do in his position. He’s obviously had a really big couple of days. And he really needs to focus on where it counts, and he said he’s done the butterfly for a bit of fun but he’s now here to focus.”
Chalmers finished second in the event at the Australian Swimming Championships in May and having decided to initially not swim the event at the world titles, he later changed his mind.
Chalmers delivered a blistering 47.36 seconds in the freestyle semi finals and will start red hot favourite for the final. His time would have won the gold at the world championships.
The 2016 Olympic champion says has not won a major individual 100m freestyle event since the Rio Games and after a tumultuous week in Birmingham is determined to make his mark.
Chalmers has been caught up in a battle with the media who he has accused of “making up stories” regarding friction within the Australian team.
Cody Simpson looked cool calm and collected after securing his place in the 100m butterfly final in just his second individual race back.
“I was quite calm. I knew I had to get through the next round, tick the box off, try to swim it as comfortably as I could without spending too much for tonight,” Simpson said.
“Quite happy with it.”
Asked how he is handling his emptions with girlfriend Emma mcKeon smashing records, winning golds and competing in back-to-back events, Simpson added: “I was watching back at the village her 50 free, it was hard because I was trying not to get excited because I had to keep something in the tank for my morning.
“It is hard, you want to stay focused but you want to be absolutely supportive of her too.
“I feel like every time I look over, she is racing. She has a harder job than I do but she is handling it handling it awesome.”
SWIM LEGEND WEIGHS IN ON ‘LOVE TRIANGLE’ SAGA
Australian swimming legend Grant Hackett has weighed in on the Kyle Chalmers, Emma McKeon and Cody Simpson saga saying the trio are at their wits end.
Hackett revealed that the three athletes have sat down privately to discuss the matter and believes it’s time the story was put to bed.
“They’re professionals, they’re teammates, they get along with each other, they respect each other where they need to, and they go out there and they execute performances for the country and they support one another,” he said.
“You’ve already got the pressure of performance from the whole country – there’s a huge amount of expectation when it comes to the Australian swim team, particularly when it comes to the Commonwealth Games.
“We always have that first week, and we always dominate usually, but that does come with a lot of pressure in terms of that performance.
“So this continually gets out there really distracts from some of the great performances.
“This was a story that was back at the Commonwealth Games trials a couple of months ago, and the three of them put it to bed.
“Kyle’s come out very openly and said, this is a bunch of rubbish.
“No one had any problems. They couldn’t believe the fuss around it.”
TABLE TENNIS: Jian Fang Lay, Yangzi Liu and Minhyung Jee have won bronze beating Wales 11-7, 12-10, 11-4.
Particular shout out to Jian Fang Lay who now becomes a six-time Comm Games athlete with eight minor medals to her name.
The medal puts Australian table tennis back on the podium for the first time since 2014.
7:45AM ‘BANGED UP’: CYCLIST SHARES UPDATE AFTER FREAK CRASH
English track cyclist Matt Walls has posted an update to his fans after miraculously avoiding serious injury in a horror crash at the velodrome.
Walls and his bike were flung into the crowd at the velodrome injuring himself and spectators.
More than 12 hours after the freak accident, the 25-year-old posted a message of thanks with an update on his condition.
“Thank you everyone for the messages and support!
“I’ve somehow come away with no serious injuries just a few stitches and pretty banged up.
“I really hope everyone else involved is ok including the spectators that may have been injured.”
Two other riders were treated for injuries as were two members of the public who were taken from the scene ‘covered in blood’.
7:09AM HE WAS ROBBED
Australian cycling star Matthew Glaetzer was robbed of a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in a decision labelled a “travesty”.
Glaetzer, who was made to sweat for over an hour while officials reviewed footage, had his bronze medal taken off him in a decision widely condemned by the cycling community.
The lengthy review deemed Glaetzer impeded Scotland’s Jack Carlin during the bronze medal sprint, a ruling which was slammed by Aussie cycling royalty Kathy Bates.
Bates, commentating for Channel 7, called the officials’ decision “a poor interpretation”.
“I don’t agree,” Bates said. “If they are going to be that picky they need every camera angle and they sure need a super zoom.
“I’m having nothing of it. The any time limit contact is when Jack Carlin swung back up the track and even fact touched Matt Glaetzer. If anyone got impeded it was Matt Glaetzer. But the judges, you have to respect their decision. I’m not sure I respect this one to be honest.
“I want to because I think rules are rules but I think this is a pretty crappy decision. I’m devastated for Matt Glaetzer. I don’t see how the Australians will accept this and not feel robbed. This is an absolute travesty in my mind. I don’t even think Jack Carlin will be pleased at that turnaround. You want to win fair and square, and that is the most ridiculous relegation I have ever seen.
“I’m very devastated for Matt Glaetzer. And I think it is a poor interpretation.”
Footage showed a distraught Glaetzer when the verdict was announced, while teammate Matthew Richardson celebrated his gold medal.
“You can see it in his face. This decision has just broken him, it is not fair in my estimation,” Bates said.
“He doesn’t have a right of appeal. It is probably why the decision has taken so long because they were deliberating it, and certainly Australians were arguing as hard as they could and fighting the case for Matt Glaetzer.
“This is just absolute heartbreak for him. The look on his face, guys, there have been a lot of tears tonight at the velodrome for happy reasons and now sad ones.
“I won’t give my opinion. But I think what everyone in Australia is thinking right now and I think the same as that man on our screens. We are absolutely devastated having the bronze medal taken of him after the superhuman efforts of the last couple of days. Totally devastated.”
6:03PM FIVE ATHS STARS TO WATCH
Athletics starts at the Commonwealth Games today. Here is who to keep an eye out for — including an Aussie star.
WOMEN Kelsey-Lee Barber (AUS) – Javelin
The 30-year-old seemed set fair to finally land a Commonwealth Games gold — having taken bronze and silver in the last two editions — after she retained her world title.
The Olympic bronze medallist, though, contracted Covid-19 shortly after her world triumph but the team insisted she would make it to Birmingham.
Barber can take heart that her compatriot Jessica Stenson finally won the marathon title on Saturday despite having Covid less than a month before the Games
Keely Hodgkinson (ENG) – 800m
The 20-year-old should be the hottest of favourites to be crowned Commonwealth Games champion. She took silver in last year’s Olympics behind Athing Mu and then lost out by the barest of margins (0.08sec) to the American in the world final.
That defeat left her bristling.
“I’m definitely a little bit annoyed,” she said. “I have a lot of respect for her but I’m obviously gutted. I came here to win the gold and it didn’t happen.” After her silver in Tokyo, Hodgkinson, who has put studying for a criminology degree on hold, was rewarded by a sponsor with a spin in an Aston Martin.
She felt that her Eugene performance did not merit a repeat but gold in Birmingham should be good enough for a second outing.
MEN Ferdinand Omanyala (KEN) – 100m
The African 100 metres champion could gain compensation at the Games after his world title challenge was shattered by only obtaining a visa to enter the United States at the last minute.
The 26-year-old bowed out in the semi-finals but said he had no regrets and was looking forward to competing in Birmingham.
“The challenge of life is intended to make you better, not bitter,” he tweeted. “Persistence and resilience only come from having been given the chance to work through difficult problems. No matter how much falls on us, we keep moving.”
Jake Wightman (SCO) — 1500m One of the surprises of the world championships when he took gold in a race being commentated on in the stadium by his father and coach Geoff.
The 28-year-old became Britain’s first 1500m world champion since Steve Cram in 1983 and is keen to use it as a springboard for Commonwealth gold and then the European 800m crown in Munich later this month.
“It’s crazy. The time frame between coming back from the worlds and then going into the Commonwealths,” he said.
“It’ll be tough to kind of get myself back up, which is why I need to let myself chill out for a few days to get ready for the tough rounds again and get back into that championship environment.”
Emmanuel Korir (KEN) – 400m
The 27-year-old is the undoubted king of the 800m having added world gold to his Olympic crown.
Eyebrows may be raised as to why he would not attempt to make it a triple of 800m titles in Birmingham.
However, he is extremely confident in his abilities at 400m. He said after the world final that he knew he would win as with a slow first lap he was the best 400m runner in the field.
A further aid to his hopes is he is pretty fresh having only started his season at the end of June.
MUM’S BOOZY 6AM CELEBRATION
On the Gold Coast, in the early hours of Monday morning, a bottle of champagne was popped and passed around – punctuated by some swear words – to signify the arrival of a new sporting superpower.
As sisters Maddison and Teagan Levi stepped forward to accept their Commonwealth Gold, mum Richelle was uncorking the bubbly and getting ready for a big day of celebrating.
Her daughters had helped Australia to an upset semi-final win over New Zealand, and then a trouncing of Fiji in the final to secure gold.
It was a revival of the team’s 2016 Olympic triumph and ushered in a new era of Sevens superstars.
But before all of that? There was a euphoric celebration in the southern hemisphere that may not only have woken up a decent chunk of Queensland’s east coast, but also would’ve made mother Mary blush.
“Mum had a bottle of champagne ready at 6 in the morning — she was ready to celebrate and I think she’ll be on it all day celebrating,” a jubilant Maddison Levi said after Australia’s historic maiden Sevens gold medal win over Fiji.
“I don’t know if I can say it on camera (what mum said) but they were definitely happy.
There were tears of joy. It was a pretty emotional rollercoaster …. they’ve been with us through the highs and lows and to have two kids standing on that podium is pretty awesome.
“They definitely had tears. But lots of swearing, I can confirm.”
Maddison might have undersold the party going back home.
Richelle told Channel 7 later in the morning she was already two bottles of champagne down before 9am.
“Two bottles of champagne already done,” she said.
She was joined by at least one supporter wearing pyjamas for a live cross on Channel 7 as the party raged into the morning.
‘Two bottles of champagne already done’
Sam Mac caught up with Rachelle, the proud mum of sisters Teagan and Maddi Levi who took out the rugby 7 gold medal win at the Commonwealth Games. pic.twitter.com/ozvEMiwT8c
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) July 31, 2022
Maddison and sister Teagan are the new face of women’s rugby in Australia, following the path trodden by teammates Charlotte Caslick and Sharni Williams, and earlier Ellia Green and Emilee Cherry.
Powerful, pacy, skilful. There’s a reason they’re among the most in-demand female athletes in the country – with AFLW and NRLW clubs lining up to steal them from rugby union.
“We got to stand next to each other, so it was pretty sentimental. We’ve achieved a Commonwealth Games medal, not many people can do that in their lives let alone have their sister side-by-side,” Maddison said.
But judging by smiles that lit up Coventry Arena stadium on Sunday night, the Levi clan is comfortable in rugby union right now.
“When I first started I aspired to be like Charlotte Caslick and the likes of Ellia Green and now that I’m in this role I’d love to inspire the younger generation because I think it’s such a great sport,” Maddison explained.
“The opportunities you get you can’t get with most sports. And to have younger girls look up to me and hopefully one day be standing side-by-side with girls you call your sister and be celebrating this moment is pretty monumental.”