Comm Games cheat sheet: Day 5
Your daily guide to the Kiwi women in action on the Gold Coast , with Steve Deane.
Performances of the day
Kiwi women led a medal blitz on the fifth evening of the Gold Coast Games, with Joelle King and Sophie Pascoe claiming gold, and F46 javelin thrower Holly Robinson silver within an hour of each other.
Robinson broke the world record with her first throw but was overhauled by Wales’ Holly Arnold, who reclaimed her world record with her sixth and final throw to claim gold.
King saw off a spirited challenge from feisty Englishwoman Sarah-Jane Perry to become the first ever Kiwi woman to win a gold medal in squash singles. King went into the match a strong favourite thanks to her 5-0 career record against Perry, and duly marched to a two-sets-to-nil lead in the best of five match.
Perry claimed the third set convincingly and looked on track to claim to the fourth before suffering a major meltdown, with her angst somewhat unfairly focused on the referee. “You’ve changed the rules and not told us,” Perry raged at the ref despite being well in front and playing well at the time.
Perry’s meltdown handed King a chance to claim the match in four sets with a match ball at 10-9 up in the fourth, but she couldn’t convert, with Perry rallying to take the set 12-10.
King stormed to a 5-0 lead in the decisive fifth, only for Perry to again fight back to level at 8-8. The Kiwi, though, wasn’t to be denied, with Perry the architect of her own downfall as she caught a ball mid-rally expecting a stroke call that never eventuated.
A delighted King polished off the final two points to claim a 16-14, 11-8, 6-11, 11-13, 11-8 victory in 72 minutes.
You can read more about King here in this excellent piece by LockerRoom editor Suzanne McFadden.
Para-swimming queen Pascoe added a second gold of the campaign with a dominant display in the SW9 100m breaststroke.
Quote of the day
While gutted to be ruled out with injury, Laurel Hubbard had no regrets about attempting a personal best in the 90+ kilogram women’s weightlifting competition when already well in front.
"I have no regrets about the attempts that I made, because I believe that, to be true to sport, you really have to try to be the best that you can.
“I gave it everything I had. I can sleep well with that.”
The good news
New Zealand’s first women’s beach volleyball pair to compete at a Comm Games, Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills, continued their strong showing with a 2-0 victory over Vanuatu. Having already seen off Rwanda and Singapore, the Kiwi pair qualified top of Group C.
The New Zealand women's hockey team drew 0-0 with Australia to remain unbeaten in pool play.
And the netballers didn’t suffer a humiliating loss to a nation with a GDP smaller than Lower Hutt. They beat Scotland 60-29.
Pre-event favourite Laurel Hubbard’s presence at these Games was contentious due to her past as an elite male junior weightlifter – and the perceived advantages that came with having been born male. However, her bid for Games glory in the 90kg+ division lasted just three attempted lifts. After opening the snatch with a successful 120kg lift, she then missed at 127kg. Despite being already well in front, Hubbard upped the weight on the bar to 132kg in an attempt to post a personal best.
During the attempt she suffered what was believed to be a ruptured elbow tendon, the injury forcing her withdrawal from the competition.
As the hand-wringing continued over the New Zealand netball team’s (they aren’t called the Silver Ferns at events such as these, would you believe?) debate has centred on the most appropriate reference point for the scale of the disaster.
“This was the equivalent of the All Blacks dropping one to Namibia,” Stuff’s Marc Hinton reckoned.
LockerRoom’s editor Suzanne McFadden found that disrespectful to world No. 6-ranked Malawi – a team boasting one of the best shooters in the world in Mwai Kumwenda.
“If you’re going to make a comparison, it’s like the All Blacks losing to Wales – not Namibia,” was McFadden’s riposte.
Of course, both veteran hoop sports lovers are entirely wrong. It’s not the equivalent of the All Blacks losing to anyone. The Silver Ferns – sorry, NZ netball team – aren’t the All Blacks and never have been. They’ve seldom been clearly the best in the world and, when they have been, that lofty position has been precarious and short-lived.
If the NZNT are any international rugby team (they really aren’t) then they are the Wallabies. And this was the equivalent of the Wallabies losing to Lesotho - which they will likely do fairly soon.
Lawn bowls women's pairs and triples; cyclists Georgia Williams, Linda Villumsen, Rushlee Buchanan in the women's road time trial; Siositina Hakeai in the discus and Julia Ratcliffe in the hammer throw final; Carina Doyle, Bobbi Gichard, Bronagh Ryan, Helena Gasson and Laticia-Leigh Transom in the pool; Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills in the beach volleyball quarters; Women's and mixed doubles squash; Tall Ferns v
Gold 4, silver 5, bronze 3
We recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to sustain and expand LockerRoom, our section dedicated to covering New Zealand women in sport. We created LockerRoom to fill a gap in sports journalism, sharing inspirational, compelling and important stories that would otherwise go untold. To join our team as a supporter, simply click the red button.