Commonwealth Games: Julia Ratcliffe goes one better to win gold in hammer throw

  • 10/04/2018

Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Julia Ratcliffe has gone one better on the Gold Coast with gold in the women's hammer throw.

New Zealand won its second track and field gold of the Games, after Tom Walsh's shot put win, when the 24-year-old from Hamilton hurled 69.94m on her fifth effort.

Silver medallist, Australia's Alexandra Hulley, was the only one to get close to Ratcliffe with a throw of 68.20m. Another Australian, Lara Nielsen, was third with 65.03.

Event favourites, Olympic bronze-medallist England's Sophie Hitchon and Canada's Jillian Weir, were disqualified when they both fouled three times.

Commonwealth Games record-holder Sultana Frizzell of Canada, who won gold in Glasgow and Delhi, was nowhere near her best and finished.

Earlier, Glasgow gold medallist Linda Villumsen won silver in the women's 25.5km time trial.

The Denmark-born New Zealander clocked 36 minutes 03.01 seconds in finishing second, nearly a minute behind Australian winner Katrin Garfoot.

Third place went to Englishwoman Hayley Simmonds in 36:22.09. New Zealand's Rushlee Buchanan was fifth.

Earlier, two-time Olympic rowing gold medallist Hamish Bond has continued his successful transition to cycling with a bronze-medal performance in the men's road time trial.

Starting 28th of the 61 entries, Bond quickly overhauled the early leaders, including Englishman Charlie Tanfield, who has already won gold on the track at these Games.

Tanfield led Bond by nine seconds through the first checkpoint, but blew up on a steep climb soon afterwards and began to fall away.

The Kiwi, who claims to have ridden the 37.4km course 30-40 times in his preparation, looked far more comfortable uphill and by the time he crossed the finish-line, his nearest rival was Australian Callum Scotson, whom he surpassed by 50 seconds.

"I'm pretty pleased," he told TVNZ afterwards. "It was my most complete time trial to date and I'm really pleased to execute on the big stage.

"If someone beats me now, I'll take it on the chin. I pretty much did all I could on the day."

Bond had one narrow escape on the course, when he narrowly avoided a support bike, which also knocked a road cone over in his path.

"You don't much time to think," he told TVNZ. "You're just on auto-pilot.

"It's less than ideal, but you just have to role with the punches."

Then, it was a matter of waiting in the 'hot seat', as the later starters tried to better his 48m 45.45s time.

The first of those challengers was Tanfield's older brother Harry, who assumed the lead through the early checkpoints and eventually pipped Bond by two seconds at the finish.

But the big threat proved to be Australian Cameron Meyer, who powered around the course 32 seconds faster than Bond and half a minute clear of Harry Tanfield, to grab gold.

Meanwhile, Kiwi boxer David Nyika is already celebrating another Commonwealth Games medal, after his quarter-final rival did not show for Tuesday's weigh-in.

Nyika, 22, the reigning 91kg champion from Glasgow four years ago, was scheduled to fight an opponent from Cameroon, but progressed without stepping into the ring.

Even if he loses, he will take home a bronze medal, since beaten boxers do not fight off for the minor medals.

"My opponent didn't show up at the weigh-in this morning, there I won't be fighting today," he posted on Instagram.

"I was pretty excited to get another few rounds under my belt but on the plus side I now progress through to the semi-finals on Friday."

Meanwhile, women's 57kg fighter Alexis Pritchard wasted little time dispensing her Sri Lankan opponent and moving into the semis, also claiming at least a bronze medal later this week.