Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Hamish Kerr achieves history with high jump gold medal

Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Hamish Kerr achieves history with high jump gold medal

Kiwi high jumper Hamish Kerr has created history with New Zealand's first-ever Commonwealth Games men's medal in the event - gold!

Kerr and Australian defending champion Brandon Starc - brother of Aussie cricketer Mitchell Starc - both cleared 2.25m to finish atop the competition standings, but the Kiwi prevailed with a better record at lower heights to win on a countback.

Entering at 2.15m, Kerr, 25, need only attempt to clear his opener, 2.19m, 2.22m and 2.25m, before failing with three attempts at 2.28m.

Meanwhile, his rival struggled early, needing two attempts at 2.15m, three at 2.19m and two at 2.22m. Those misses were always likely to prove costly, forcing Starc to jump higher than Kerr, if he was to repeat his gold medal from Gold Coast.

Hamish Kerr in action at Birmingham
Hamish Kerr in action at Birmingham. Photo credit: Getty

Indian Tejaswin Shankar stayed in the competition until the end, but missed twice at 2.25m and couldn't snatch gold with a desperate last attempt at 2.28m.

"I knew there were some guys in the field that could jump pretty high and I couldn't take my foot off the accelerator, so I was just looking towards the next jump," said Kerr. "But by the end, I couldn't help looking at the field and seeing guys start to falter, and knew I was in a good position."

After finishing 10th at last year's Tokyo Olympics, Kerr took bronze at the world indoor championships earlier this year and seemed poised for a medal performance at the Commonwealth Games - something no Kiwi man had ever achieved.

New Zealand has enjoyed previous success in the women's event, with Tania Dixon winning a famous jump-off for gold at Auckland 1990, Mary Donaghy taking silver at Cardiff 1958 and four others winning bronze, but before Kerr, our men have struggled to compete on the world stage.

"It's unreal," said Kerr. "It seems like a long time coming.

"I knew I was coming into some pretty good form, but at the same time, to get it done is just amazing. The stadium's awesome and I really let that take me... I'm in shock."

Kerr's performance capped another productive night at Alexander Stadium, with shot putter Maddison-Lee Wesche taking bronze and sprinter Zoe Hobbs exceding expectations to make the women's 100m final.

Maddie Wesche celebrates her shot put bronze
Maddie Wesche celebrates her shot put bronze. Photo credit: Getty

Wesche led her competition early, with an opening effort of 18.84m, but could not improve over the final five rounds. Defending champion Danniel Thomas-Dodd of Jamaica managed 18.98m in the third round, while Canadian Sarah Mitton improved with every throw to throw 19.03m on her last for victory.

Hobbs reached the final with a second-place finish in her semi and acquitted herself well against some of the world's fastest women, including five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who won in 10.95s.

The Kiwi blitzed home in sixth with 11.19s.

"I'm so stoked to have made that final," she said. "To run against the field here was incredible and this atmosphere is unreal.

"My starts have been going well, I just need to be able to finish it off. That's what I went into the semi hoping to do - this race was about getting out there and leaving it all on the field."

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