Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe secures third straight medal with silver

Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe secures third straight medal with silver

Kiwi hammer queen Julia Ratcliffe has fallen short of defending her Commonwealth Games crown, but has secured her third straight medal in the event at Birmingham.

Qualifying second for the final at Alexander Stadium, Ratcliffe, 29, has won her second Games silver, throwing 69.63m to finish almost five metres behind Canadian Camryn Rogers.

Throwing near the end of the field, she took an early lead with an opening 67.26m, followed by 69.59m, as Rogers fouled her first two attempts.

Julia Ratcliffe in action at Birmingham
Julia Ratcliffe in action at Birmingham. Photo credit: Getty

Under pressure to make the final eight and three more attempts, Rogers produced her winning 74.08m on her third effort and Ratcliffe responded with her longest of the day, but neither could improve over the final three rounds.

The Kiwi won at Gold Coast four years ago with 69.94m and has a personal best of 73.55m. She also took silver at Glasgow 2014.

"It's been a rollercoaster getting here," she said. "I was really happy with the series and building throughout the throws.

"When Camryn got that 74 out, I wanted to chase her and I did that, so I'm really proud of that.

"She's an epic thrower... a little powerhouse and an awesome person as well. Just the composure she had out there, not many people can throw 74 after two fouls, so I have to hand it to her."

New Zealand began the qualifying rounds with three throwers in the event, but lost national recordholder Lauren Bruce in the preliminaries, unable to record a throw.

In the final, Nicole Bradley narrowly missed the top eight with 63.10m.

Meanwhile, distance runner George Beamish has run a smart race to finish sixth in the men's 5000m, clocking 13m 21.71s, while Portia Bing placed seventh over 400m hurdles with 56.36s.

After months on the road, Bing spotted her family in the stands and waved, as she stood behind her blocks at the start.

"Being in lane nine was the hardest thing I've ever experienced," she said. "I felt like a bit of a rabbit out there and you're running blind for the first eight hurdles, which was quite difficult, but it's part of international racing.

"At 29, some people say I'm heading towards the end, but I worked out this is my fourth or fifth race internationally, so I want to spend the next few years racing more and learning how to race internationally."

Join us for live updates of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games