Second Day Goes Swimmingly for Australia
Day two of competition at the Vth Commonwealth Youth Games and the Australian National Anthem was played no fewer than six times at the Aquatics Centre at Tuana’imato Sports Complex.
The Gold and Green also took a further two bronze medals from the swimming events.
Calypso Sheridan brought home the first nugget with a personal best time of 4minutes 49.38 seconds in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley. In the Men’s version compatriot Clyde Lewis stormed away to finish almost seven seconds ahead of the field with Joe Litchfiled of England claiming Silver and South Africa’s Neil Fair Bronze.
By the end of the evening Clyde would be the proud owner of three swimming Golds.
It was the New Zealanders who then doubled up in the 50m Backstroke events. Zane Waddell finished in 25.94 seconds to claim the Men’s title whilst Gabrielle Fa’amausili 16, and the Junior World Record holder had a bigger reason to smile than most as she stepped onto the podium.
A feature of these Games is the pride of the host nation and its people and it was apt that Gabrielle could combine the two, being of Samoan heritage;
“ I’m so proud to win in my own country and also to have a teammate (Bobbi Gichard took Silver) so close to me that’s all good.”
The Australians were then back into their stroke winning both 100m Freestyle titles. 50.26 seconds was enough for Vincent Dai to win the Men’s race. Lucy McJannett won in 55.34 seconds with Shayna Jack picking up a Bronze for Australia. Erin Paige Gallagher was again on the mark with a Silver medal for South Africa.
Layla Black from England won the Women’s 100m Breaststroke, and she wasn’t the first medalist to reinforce the importance of hard work;
“ It feels amazing knowing that all the hard work has paid off and hearing the National Anthem and being stood on the podium was great. It’s definitely one of my proudest moments being stood there. It makes you want more.”
Malaysia took their first medal in the pool with Fu Kang Wong narrowly edging out Edward Baxter of England in 1 minute 3.36 seconds
The final two events on the pool schedule were the 4 x 200m Freestyle relays where Australia took both Golds. However, that only tells half the story in the Men’s discipline as the Australian team were 6 seconds behind at one stage before storming back to pip England by 0.86 seconds
Three titles were settled at the Weightlifting Arena. The early session saw the 62kg Commonwealth Youth Record fall twice to India’s Lather Deepak. The second youngest in the field, at 15 yrs of age, he came in at 115kg and broke the Record twice to lift 120kg in the Snatch element.
Despite winning a Commonwealth Youth Gold, Lather provided an insight into the drive and determination of elite young athletes;
“I’m very happy with my medal but not my performance, particularly in my Snatch discipline. My ambition is to win a senior Gold Medal at the Commonwealth Games”
The Weightlifting is worth a visit, it can be akin to a very physical game of chess with attitude. The atmosphere in the auditorium is great and is only enhanced here when a Pacific island team are going for Gold. Fiji picked up a Gold yesterday and they were hunting their second today in the shape of Maria Mareta. She was competing in the 58kg event. Maria took the Silver Medal comfortably behind the winner Nur Atikah Mahamad Sobri of Malaysia. Nevertheless, it was a happy Fijian who greeted the Press;
“I’m happy and proud, my 10 months of preparation for this event has paid off. My goal was to achieve a gold or silver medal and I got it”
Alongside her, the young Malaysian was delighted,
“This is my first Commonwealth Gold Medal and the first for Malaysia in the women and I am very happy. It was a bit tough. I am now looking forward to the National Championship and the World Youth Championship next year”
It was a successful day of competition for Malaysia as they picked up four Gold Medals with two secured in the squash Singles competition. Eain Yow Ng triumphed over England’s Patrick Rooney 3-0 in the men’s event.
Sivasangari Subramaniam won the Women’s Squash final.
South African coaches were once again pleased with their team’s efforts at Apia Park on Day Two of the Athletics. In the Women’s Long Jump, South African Renate Van Tonder, 17 leapt 6.26m ahead of Billie Arch of Australia and Rachel Alexander of Scotland. She led from early in the competition and had to not let her emotions take hold of her as a result;
“ I realized I had to give my best from the first jump, usually it’s my fifth or sixth jumps. My first jump was a PB already and I couldn’t believe it and then the second jump was 20cm beyond my PB. I thought that this is crazy! I wanted to cry, but my coach told me to focus on my remaining jumps. It’s overwhelming, my first reaction was I can’t believe it, tell me again, tell me again. I even asked my father to make sure that I really had won.”
India added to their medal tally with victory in the Men’s Javelin. Hadeesh Mohd, threw 79.29m which was over 11m ahead of George Davies of England. The distance was both a Personal Best and a National Record.
Junelle Bromfield the 400m runner from Jamaica had earlier spoken with confidence alongside the Samoan Prime Minister at the opening Press Conference. She was no less confident and clear in her planning for Gold Medal success in the one lap event.
“I went out very late and had to do a lot of work in the back straight, the lactic acid was filling up my legs but I was determined to bring home the medal. I’ve always dreamt of being a Gold medalist and I didn’t get one at the World Championships.”
It was probably that single focus that got her over the line first as this was no straight forward vistory, she had to fight hard in the last few metres to fight off the challenges of Jisna Mathew (India) and Idamadudu Praise Oghenefejiro (Nigeria). Only 0.11 separated the medalists.
Karabo Sibanda won by a slightly larger margin in the 400m Men’s Final. The Botswanan athlete saw this victory as a stepping stone for further development.
“It was perfect as it’s been a long season for me, I was looking for a PB but I didn’t expect this. This was a big improvement for me.’
Niamh Emerson along with Adaora Chigbo formed an England one-two in the Women’s High Jump. Niamh commented;
“ I have high expectations of myself anyway, so to win was fantastic. I was really happy as I came in on a higher starting height than usual. I was shaking, but it was so fun and a really good experience.”
It was also a one-two for Australia in the women’s discus with Kristina Moore picking up the title, whilst Nigeria won both Men’s and women’s 4x200m relays.
There was still joy for Samoa as they collected Silvers.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the track, Lawn Bowls settled its first medals of the week.
Jonathan Davis took the Boy’s singles Gold beating New Zealand’s Seamus Curtin with Ashleigh Jeffcoat of new Zealand winning the Women’s Gold Medal beating Malaysia’s Nur Ain Nabilah Tarmizi.
It was left to another successful Australian, Jonathon Davis to round up the feelings of everyone who had taken home Gold on Day Two;
“I’m so happy and honoured to be the top athlete in the Youth Games”
By The Reporters’ Academy