A massive controversy in the women’s hockey where an umpiring howler was slammed as “embarrassing and amateur”.
In a tense affair, Australia were struck down by injuries, relied on an early goal for much of the match, conceded their first goal of the tournament and had to dig extra deep in the controversial 3-0 penalty shootout win – after finishing 1-1 in regulation.
The Birmingham crowd was left outraged when Rosie Malone was given a re-do after her initial penalty was saved – only to bury home her second attempt, to loud boos from the crowd.
Rosie Malone of the Hockeyroos stepped up for the first spot hit but after fluffing her lines and missing the umpire called for a retake stating that the shot clock had not started.
While it was by the rules the decision was wildly contentious with former international Georgie Parker describing the decision as “amateur and unfortunate.”
The crowd turned on the officials with boos ringing out.
“That would be a national outrage if that happened to Australia,” – Alastair Nichoson said on Channel 7.
The shootout continued with Australia’s goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram the hero saving all three of India’s efforts to put the Hockeyroos into the gold medal match.
Coach Katrina Powell’s side were forced into a re-shuffle following a scary facial injury to key defender Karri Somerville just seven minutes into the match.
Somerville was felled by an errant high-ball which struck near her right eye – requiring immediate attention, and several staff members to stem the blood pouring down her face.
The 23-year-old, who become an incredibly valued member of an Australian defence went 289 minutes without conceding a goal this week, is now in severe doubt to take her place in Sunday’s gold medal match.
Fellow defender Penny Squibb (calf) was also unavailable for the semi-final, but is expected to play on Sunday.
Australia went ahead after 10 minutes when Rebecca Greiner tapped home with a classy touch to deflect a blazing cross from Mariah Williams – who chose the perfect time to score her first goal of the tournament.
— Daya sagar (@DayaSagar95) August 5, 2022
As they’ve done throughout the tournament, Australia got into the grind, dominated possession and relied on their watertight defence – but struggled to come up with the end product despite creating a wealth of chances.
It’s the hallmark of a team that is talented, but still developing and it came back to bite them as India levelled the scores through Vandana Katariya to force a penalty shootout.
“It’s amateur and unfortunate,” said former Hockeyroo Georgie Parker.
After having her first penalty saved, Malone was controversially given a second chance – due to a malfunctioning countdown on the big screen – and duly delivered.
Captain Kaitlin Nobbs and Amy Lawton followed with cool finishes, while replacement keeper Jocelyn Bartram was rock solid in goal.
Australia will face hosts England, after they played out a similarly tense semi-final win over New Zealand, with the hosts prevailing in a gut-wrenching penalty shootout after 60 minutes of scoreless hockey.
England’s Isabelle Petter and Hannah Martin scored in the shootout, while goalkeeper Maddie Hinch was the star of the show making four saves to blank New Zealand and send the crowd at the University of Birmingham into a state of delirium.
HISTORY FOR AUSTRALIA
Daniel Golubovic and Cedric Dubler have ended a century long wait for Australia but the feat did not come without a heartbreaking finish.
Going into the final round of the decathlon, Golubovic knew he needed to finish the 1500m at least 23 seconds ahead of Lindon Victor and goodness did he give it a red hot crack.
When the Aussie crossed the line he looked to have secured himself gold with the Granadian athlete struggling down the home straight.
A painstaking wait ensued with Victor eventually crowned the decathlon champion by just 36 points having crossed the line 21 seconds behind Golubovic.
It was an incredible result for both Aussie. Golubovic taking silver and Dubler the bronze.
“Thank you, I had to dig for that,” Golubovic said afterwards. “It is cold out here and there is nothing in the works. Two decathlon in 12 days – I don’t recommend it.
“It’s been an incredible experience, coming down and moving back to Australia and back to Brisbane during COVID, it’s been a wild few years and it’s been a long process to get here. It feels so good to be on this stage right now.”
The result marks the first time in a century that Australia has had two medals in decathlon.
AUSSIE INTO THE FINAL
Australian sprinter Ella Connolly has qualified for the final for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 200m.
“I’m so pumped. It is crazy. It feels good,’’ she told trackside reporters.
“I feel like I executed a good race. Commonwealth Games is championship racing, I needed to get top two to make the final and I am now looking forward to it.”
Connolly, 22, from, Burpengary, earned an automatic spot with a lunge at the finish to beat Indian champion Hima Das by a miniscule 100th of a second in the second semifinal.
Connolly, who clocked 23.41s was behind the pace set by the winner Nambian Christine Mboma, who came through off the bend to post 22.93s.
The first two automatically advanced to the final.
Another Queensland sprinter Jacinta Beecher clocked 23.40s in the first semifinal, but she finished in fourth spot and had to hope she was one of the fastest losers.
In the end, even though she was slightly faster than Connolly, Beecher was 12 hundredths of a second off being promoted through to the final.
This was because the third semifinal was won by the hot favourite Eaine Thompson-Herah in a slick time of 22.63s, dragging the rest of the field through in quick times.
Thompson-Herah is the fastest qualifier, just ahead of Nigerian Favour Ofili who clocked 22.66s.
Connolly said her tactics for the final are simple: “I need to get out to a good start again and hold my form in the last 100m and just stay relaxed.’’
Six gold medals, a silver and a bronze. Australia’s most successful Olympian has become the most prolific Commonwealth athlete. So why her ongoing battle with the mental toll of greatness? She opens up to Will Swanton.
Waiting for her final presentation ceremony, she sits on the concrete floor in a back corner of the Sandwell Aquatics Centre. Her back is to the wall and she’s knackered. She takes her final bow, sings a song, and comes over for a chat in the grandstand of the arena she’s held in the palm of her hand.
She’s talking about the power of a good and proper cry. “That’s helped me,” she says, after completing a gruelling program compounded by a spotlight on her private life.
“It was obviously a pretty tough week. There were lots of good parts to it. Obviously sharing it with (partner) Cody (Simpson) and having both my parents in the stands every time I raced. That was special because they couldn’t be in Tokyo.
“There were so many amazing parts of the week but yes, there were tough parts as well. I’ll say it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions.”
She adds: “You try to stay stable through the course of a week as big as this one, but the emotions can build up and I do let them out.
“You can’t try to be a robot. I’m not a robot. You try to keep yourself together as much as you can, but yeah, there’s times when I just let it all go and have a decent cry.”
5:50AM ‘YOU WILL REGRET IT’: STARS SLAMMED FOR GAMES SNUB
Birmingham 2022 boss Ian Reid has slammed stars who opted to skip the Commonwealth Games and insisted they will regret failing to compete at the event.
Several big names opted to miss the Games, including sprint world champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
Many stars cited the fact that the event in Birmingham was held so close to the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon as the reason they skipped, with Fraser-Pryce actually in attendance.
Other world champions from the recent meeting in the United States that have elected to be absent from the Commonwealth Games include women’s 400m winner Shanae Miller-Uibo and Faith Kipyegon.
Regardless, Reid remained defiant in the face of absent stars and declared they will regret their choice.
He said: “We can’t make people come here but, if Shelly-Ann was here earlier and saw the atmosphere and the full stadium, she probably regrets it.
“To have 30,000 people in Alexander Stadium for every session of athletics, the atmosphere it’s created, I can’t think of anywhere better for these athletes to be. There are some others who aren’t here but my personal opinion is they will probably regret it.”
Reid’s sentiment was shared by three-time Commonwealth Games champion Daley Thompson. The Englishman won decathlon gold at the Olympics in 1980 and 1984, but won his Commonwealth titles between 1978 and 1986.
5:30AM MEDAL WITH TORN ACL
Australian wrestler Jayden Lawrence fought with a torn ACL to claim his first Commonwealth Games medal in one of the most heroic efforts of Birmingham 2022.
The 27-year-old, from New South Wales, tore his anterior cruciate ligament during a bout with Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam, yet fought on in search of a breakthrough medal at his third Commonwealth Games.
Competing in the men’s freestyle 86kg, Lawrence defeated South Africa’s Edward Lessing 12-11 in the bronze medal match, a result he said had been a “long time coming”.
“I got the medal. It is third time lucky and it’s been a long time coming. I’ve been training really, really hard for this, given up a lot. I’m so happy,” he told Channel 7.
But the real bombshell was yet to come when he revealed he was hobbled by an injury which sidelines most athletes for close to 12 months.
“In the Pakistan match I got a bit injured, tore my ACL,” he cooly said.
“The last two fights, wrestles sorry, battled it out.”
Lawrence revealed the extent of his pain, saying he would struggle to walk five minutes after being interviewed.
But asked whether he was worth it, Lawrence was in no doubt.
“Bloody oath,” he said.
By Erin Smith
One is a rookie, the other a veteran of the sport but that didn’t stop Aussie duo Dom Bedggood and Cassiel Rousseau soaring in the men’s synchronised 10m platform event to finish in third place.
Just 1.29 points off second Canada’s Rylan Weins and Nathan Zsombor-Murray.
The pair only formed earlier this year – impressing at Worlds, their first major competition, finishing seventh.
Bedggood is a multi Commonwealth Games medal winner and both have among the few Aussie men to make finals in the individual 10m platform event at the Olympics.
They eased into their event in Birmingham, starting with some lower difficulty rated dives before pulling out a host for tricks for their remaining four dives.
At the halfway point the pair were sitting in third place and after their fourth dive were just 14.43 points off first.
With the competition including Olympians and world silver medal winners England’s Matthew Lee and Noah Williams, who went on to claim gold tonight, it was always going to be a tough night off the platform.
They nailed their fifth dive, their most difficult, a forward four and a half somersaults tuck to collect 84.36 points from the judges.
With one dive to go the boys were sitting in third, just 13 points behind Lee and Williams.
5:01AM HOMETOWN HERO
By Jacquelin Magnay
Home town hero Zharnel Hughes blasted his way into the 200m final with an impressive semifinal triumph, clocking a comfortable looking qualifying time of 21.32s in blustery conditions at the Alexander Stadium.
Hughes believed he had won the Gold Coast Commonwealth 200m title four years ago but he was ruled out for impeding the athlete in the adjoining lane on the blocks. It turned out that decision was incorrect, and he has had the Birmingham title in his sights ever since.
Trinidad and Tobago runner Jereem Richards also looked easy in the nexct semifinal, posting a time of 20.40, while Ghana’s Joseph Amoah, in the same heat, was pulled through in 20.51 as the third fastest.
A year ago Brittany O’Brien was in tears unable to dive off the 10m platform anymore – she was ready to throw in the shammy for good.
It was a suggestion from her coach that convinced her to try springboard for the first time – now she is returning from Birmingham with a silver medal around her neck.
“It was a mental thing, I was having trouble getting my dives off the platform, I would just stand there and sort of cry. After having so much time off after Covid-19 lockdowns I just struggled to get back into it,” O’Brien, 24, said.
“I was never really good at (springboard) in the beginning which was why I never did it. I’ve had to work really hard to get it.”
O’Brien had a shaky start in the preliminary round but had the rest of the field on notice after her first few dives.
She showed everyone what she could do in her fourth dive -a reverse two-and-a-half- somersault in tuck, to earn 63 points – her highest in the competition.
A result that shocked even her.
“That is one of my newer dives and I’ve never really hit it in a competition before so it felt really good to actually put it down tonight,” O’Brien said.
A medal was all but guaranteed if she executed her fifth dive.
“I was so nervous, I was shaking,” O’Brien said. “But once I went through the water I was pretty confident with my performance.”
And she was right to be – the dive scored 56.25 – her second highest of the night and secured her second spot on the leaderboard.
Canada’s Mia Vallee finished 12.25 points ahead to claim gold.
The bronze medal went to England’s Amy Rollingson.
O’Brien’s synchro partner Esther Qin, who claimed bronze in the 1m springboard at the Gold Coast, was unlucky to miss a spot on the podium.
Qin had put on a solid performance during the night but came unstuck on her final dive, dropping from third to sixth.
Georgia Sheehan, who won silver in this event at the Gold Coast, claimed seventh.
By Eliza Barr
One of Australia’s brightest rhythmic gymnastics prospects has claimed bronze at the Commonwealth Games in a tightly contested all-around final.
Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva was outclassed Brit Marfa Ekimova and Cyprus champion Anna Sokolova.
“It was an extremely exhausting day, not only physically but mentally, and the nerves got the better of us,” Kiroi-Bogatyreva said.
“I came home with bronze and I’m happy with that.”
“There were a few mistakes today, but I did clean and steady routines, the judges were happy and the coaches were happy,” Kiroi-Bogatyreva said.
“As rhythmic gymnasts we’re known as perfectionists, I could give you a whole lot of things – some were shaky, some were better than the first time, but I wasn’t hoping for anything except to control my nerves and do clean, steady routines.”
The 20-year old law student from Monash University in Melbourne came in as one to watch, as the Australian all-around champion.
By Simeon Thomas-Wilson
Australia’s 12-year medal drought in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games has ended after Jayden Lawrence took bronze by the narrowest of margins.
Australian wrestlers had not won a medal at a Commonwealth Games since Delhi in 2010, but this has changed after Lawrence pipped South African Edward Lessing in a thrilling 86kg men’s freestyle match.
After bursting out of the blocks and racing to a 12-6 lead, Lawrence was pegged back by the South African who won five straight points.
Both wrestlers gave all they had to try and get to 10 points clear but with the seconds ticking down it became a survival mission for Lawrence.
He was just one point up with 30 seconds to go and despite Lessing throwing all he could at him Lawrence’s defence was too good as he broke Australia’s medal drought.
TV RATINGS: COMM GAMES MIND BLOWING NUMBERS
Australians can’t get enough of the Commonwealth Games, with millions tuning in across the nation on television and online to watch the multi-sport event.
Thanks to the time difference, Australia’s best athletes are sometimes competing in the middle of the night Australian time, but that has not deterred more than 9.9 million Australians tuning into the Channel 7’s Birmingham 2022 broadcast on TV.
Seven West Media chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette said the network’s Games coverage had captivated Australians in exceptional numbers.
“Our exclusive, live and free coverage of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games delivered incredible and magical moments and hours of engaging entertainment for millions of Australians,” Mr Burnette said.
“(Television commercial agency) Total TV (is) showing the Games dominated viewing every day and night.”
More than 1.77 million have also caught the Games online on 7Plus, where video on demand engagement is up 165 per cent from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and live streaming up 86 per cent.
Seven West Media chief digital officer Gereurd Roberts said 7Plus was soaring to new heights in 2022, with the Games smashing streaming records.
1:30AM ANOTHER MEDAL TO COME
Australia is guaranteed another medal in lawn bowls at the Commonwealth Games after a stunning comeback win over Malaysia in the women’s pairs in Birmingham overnight.
Skip Ellen Ryan – who won gold in the women’s singles – teamed up with her great friend and lead Kristina Krstic to beat the defending champions Sita Zalina and Emma Saroji 13-10.
Gold medallists at the Gold Coast in 2018, the south east Asian dream pairing led 6-1 after the first ends before the Aussies caught fire and clinched a close victory at Royal Leamington Spa near Birmingham.
“I was more nervous that game than I have been in my singles,” Ryan said.
“It’s amazing and I can’t wait to stand on the podium with Krissie.
“I just really wanted to do well for her because we got into the same Jackaroos’ team together and that’s where our friendship started.”
11:35PM AGE IS BUT A NUMBER
It’s never too late to get to the Commonwealth Games, just look at George Miller who, at the ripe old age of 75 has just become the Commonwealth Games’s oldest ever gold medallist.
Miller is the director for visually-impaired bowler Melanie Inness.
Scotland beat Wales 16-9.
11:00PM ‘NOT LEGAL’: JENNEKE DENIED RECORD IN HURDLES BLITZ
The Michelle Jenneke revival continues with the Aussie through to the final and a genuine medal contender after clocking a personal record time – but it won’t count.
Jenneke ran a personal best time of 12.63, three-hundredths of a second faster than she ran in the semi finals at the World Championships but due to the wind the time won’t be recorded as legal.
But it was not enough to finish first with new world record holder and world champion Tobi Amusan dominating the heat to win in Games record 12.40.
It was a relaxed looking Jenneke who performed a toned-down version of her signature “jiggle’ ahead of the race.
Fellow Aussie Celeste Mucci also qualified for Sunday’s final, scraping in with the eighth fastest time of 12.96 seconds.
“It doesn’t count as a legal time but, that’s the fastest I’ve ever covered a 100m over hurdles so really stoked,” she said afterwards.
“I’m in the shape of my life. Clearly. It’s just really exciting. I still feel I’ve got a little more in the tank so we’ll see in a couple of days.
“I feel I run best when I am happy and relaxed. Just soaking it all up. I’m not someone who likes to be super focussed on what I do. Even in the call room I am chatting with the officials. That’s what I do.”
Amusan of Nigeria broke the women’s world record in the 100m hurdles in Oregon and a debate erupted around the shoe she wore.
While not wearing the controversial shoe herself, Jenneke gave her opinion ahead of her competition in Birmingham.
“I ran quite a PB in that race and ran in the same shoes that I have been running in for the last five years,” Jenneke said.
“I know I can’t attribute my PB to the shoes because it’s the same shoe, the same model of shoe.
“I have tried some of the newer spikes that they have coming out, the technology is amazing, and I’m sure people are faster but at the same time if you go back 10, 20 years, look at the shoes people were wearing, they were entirely different to what we were wearing five years ago. The technology is forever evolving.
By Joe Barton
Australia and Sri Lanka are more familiar doing battle on the cricket pitch, and with four giants bordering on 200cm taking to the sand, you felt like each of them could do a job if given the new ball at a Gabba Test.
But beach volleyball is the sport which has taken their hearts and, for the second Games in a row, Australia’s men are through to the medal matches after surviving a scare against Sri Lanka to reach Saturday’s semi-final.
After conceding the first set, the pairing of Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett prevailed 16-21 21-16 15-9 to set up a semi-final with Rwanda.
Australia, surprisingly, dropped the first set 21-16 against their unfancied rivals – who only scraped into the quarter-finals as one of two third-place finishers.
In blustery conditions at the Smithfield arena in Birmingham, the defending champions appeared to struggle with the wind as their serves didn’t have their regular sting.
It was the Aussie pair’s first dropped set of the whole Commonwealth Games, and they responded as you’d expect of the top seeded team.
With the experienced McHugh cranking up his lethal right hand to fire some unreturnable winners, Australia led from the first change of ends and never looked back to take it 21-16 and force a deciding set.
The final set is a race to 15 points, and Australia jumped out of the blocks beautifully to lead 8-4 and have the semi-final result within reach.
A controversial video referee call to overturn an Australian point – that would’ve extended their lead to 12-8 – momentarily halted the charge, but they closed out the win just inside an hour.
9:30PM AUSSIE THROUGH TO FINAL
Reigning Commonwealth Games silver medalist and Australian record holder Brooke Buschkuehl has easily qualified for Sunday’s final in the long jump.
Buschkuehl leapt 6.84m, only one centimetre behind Ghana’s Deborah Acquah, who delivered the biggest leap of the qualifying round.
Buschkuehl broke the Australian record last month with a jump of 7.05 metres and is in career-best form.
In the women’s 1500m Australia’s three female star middle distance runners, Jessica Hull, Abbey Caldwell and Linden Hall are all through to Sunday’s final.
Australia’s chances of sweeping the road cycling golds at the Commonwealth Games has suffered a huge blow with Caleb Ewan withdrawing from the road race.
Ewan, described as the “fastest man in the world” by teammates such as Luke Plapp, underwent surgery last Monday to remove a surgical plate from his collarbone – which was inserted after he crashed at the 2021 Tour de France.
AusCycling had hoped that Ewan would be able to compete despite the surgery.
But unsurprisingly on Friday they announced that the star sprinter would not start the road race in Warwick after it was “apparent” he was unable to race.
“I’m devastated that I won’t be able to represent Australia in the green and gold this weekend, but after talking with my doctors it’s clear that I need to make the difficult decision to prioritise my health,” Ewan said.
“I’ll be watching the race on television and hoping the team can get the job done for Australia.”
It is a huge blow for Australia with Ewan widely expected to fight out with the Isle of Man superstar Mark Cavendish over the 160km flat course.
Australia’s second best chance, young gun Kaden Groves, pulled out of the race a couple of weeks ago because of pro team commitments.
It means Rohan Dennis, who won the individual time trial, Luke Durbridge, Luke Plapp, Miles Scotson and Sam Fox will be tasked with continuing Australia’s dominance on the road after a clean sweep in the time trial.
All three Aussie women’s 1m springboarders are through to this morning’s final after breezing through the preliminary round.
Esther Qin, who won bronze in this event at the Gold Coast Games, had the third best result in the preliminary round, scoring 266.95.
Georgia Sheehan, back in the green and gold after taking time out of the sport to deal with burnout and mental health issues, took out fourth spot.
Brittany O’Brien, a former platform diver who switched to springboard to reduce the toll on her body, qualified through eighth.
Sam Fricker and Shixin Li are up next in the men’s 3m springboard synchronised finals.
SPRINT TEEN FREAK WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT IN 2026
While all eyes were on the track in Birmingham, Australia’s next Commonwealth Games star emerged more than 8000km away.
Queenslander Calab Law ran third in the world under-20 athletics championships 200m final, clocking a time of 20.48.
He finished behind only Blessing Akawasi Afrifah (Israel) and Lesile Tebogo (Botswana), who both recorded times of 19.96 secs.
That mark was a new championships record and would have beaten the Commonwealth Games record of 19.97 set by Frankie Fredericks in 1994.
Law’s time set a new personal best and strengthened his claims as one of Australia’s top sprint prospects after reaching the semi-finals in the 200m of the recent World Athletics Championships.
Law finished 21st in the world in the Eugene event.
He has previously run in the 100m but withdrew to focus on the 200m.
After setting a new PB in the semi-final, he told Athletics Australia: “I did what I wanted to do, and now I’m there. I was planning to run faster than that but the rain delay felt like three hours, I had a little nap until about 30-minutes to go. I’m just relaxed naturally, I don’t put too much pressure on myself because it takes too much energy.”
The final was slower than the semi-final due to a headwind.
FAMILY FEARED FOR THEIR LIVES DURING CYCLING CRASH
Alex Smith, The Sun
The family involved in the horror cycling crash at the Commonwealth Games feared for their lives.
The shocking accident came in the men’s scratch race when England’s Matt Walls collided with other riders at high speed and flew over the barriers and into the crowd.
Cycling fan Hugh Colvin was spectating alongside his two children — aged five and seven — and a few family friends, when Walls catapulted over the barrier.
Colvin’s wife Laura was not at the velodrome but she described the terror: “What has been hard for us to get our head around is how close this came to being a complete catastrophe.
“And how close our two younger children came to being seriously injured or killed. And that has been the main thing we’ve had to reflect on over the last few days.”
Colvin himself said to the BBC: “It all happened so incredibly quickly at the speed the cyclists were going.
“You can see the trajectory of the bike, it came through, grazed my daughter’s shoulder, and one of the photos you can see we are obviously underneath the wheel.
“Looking back at the photos it must have been within centimetres, millimetres, of our heads.”
Early reports from a Birmingham 2022 spokesperson said three riders went to hospital and two injured fans only required treatment by medics on site.
However, one of the family friends did go to hospital, Mrs Colvin said: “He suffered a laceration to the bone which the hospital have described as being like a machete injury.
“He’s still waiting for surgery. It is the start of a long road to recovery for him.”
She also revealed that Walls video-called her children to help them come to terms with what happened.
‘TWERKER’ STEALS SHOW ON COMM GAMES COVERAGE
A rugby fan caught the BBC cameras by surprise by twerking as she was filmed in the crowd during the Commonwealth Games.
The Rugby Sevens action was interrupted as one fan showed off her dancing — and her bum.
Cameras picked up three women enjoying their day out in Coventry at the Commonwealth Games.
But as the fan in the middle spotted herself on the big screen, she seized her moment with both hands.
After taking a swig of her drink, the supporter stood up and turned her bum to the camera before starting to twerk.
While her friends were left in hysterics by the X-rated performance, the BBC team was caught completely off guard.
The stunned BBC commentator said there is “plenty of dancing” going on in the crowd, before the cameras quickly cut away and back to the match action.