2018 in Review: Para athletics at Commonwealths11.12.2018
Australians excel on home soil at Gold Coast 2018
It was time to say goodbye – or so we thought - to two of Australia’s finest Para athletes at the 2018 Commonwealth Games as both three-time Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley and five-time Paralympic champion Evan O’Hanlon called time on their outstanding track careers.
Fearnley, the host nation’s athletics co-captain at the Games, added one more gold to his trophy cabinet with victory in the men’s marathon T54 on the final day of competition – the first time the 26.2-mile race had featured in the Commonwealth Games Para athletics schedule.
Earlier in the week, the 37-year-old had clinched silver in the men’s 1,500m T54, finishing second behind Canadian Alexandre Dupont who improved on his bronze medal from Glasgow 2014 with a win in Australia.
O’Hanlon also enjoyed one final victory before hanging up his spikes for good – or so he said at the time.
The Australian had planned to retire after Rio 2016, but a rare defeat there – and the prospect of a home Commonwealth Games – led him to postpone that decision for a further 18 months. It proved a worthwhile decision as he took gold in the men’s 100m T38.
But then in October the 30-year-old revealed on Twitter that he was back running once again.
“Guess who’s back? Back again? Evan’s back! Tell a friend! Yep…I’m running again. You can’t stop me. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Unstoppable,” he Tweeted.
The question is, will we see him go for a ninth world title in Dubai next year?
Australia’s Para athletes continued to capture the hearts of the crowds at the city’s Carrara Stadium.
Teammate Madison de Rozario had plenty to celebrate as a double gold medallist, winning both the women’s 1,500m and marathon T54; she would go on to win the London marathon one week later.
The Para athletics action had kicked off on day one of track and field with the women’s long jump T38, and it was Wales’ Olivia Breen who claimed the first gold, leaping to a new personal best of 4.86m in the final round of competition.
Further success went Wales’ way thanks to world and Paralympic champion Hollie Arnold who also saved her best until last, smashing her own world record in the women’s javelin F46 with a sixth-round effort of 44.43m to finish more than one metre clear of her great rival, New Zealander Holly Robinson.
South Africa claimed a one-two in the men’s 100m T12 as vision impaired sprinters Ndodomzi Ntutu and Hilton Langenhoven took gold and silver, while the men’s 100m T47 was won by Nigeria’s Suwaibidu Galadima.
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