Sunshine Coast athletes have done their region proud at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, securing eight gold, six silver and eight bronze, smashing records in the process.
In the pool, University of the Sunshine Coast Spartans swimmer Leah Neale and her Aussie teammates set a new Games record of 7.48.04 in the Women’s 4×200-metre Freestyle Relay and fellow USC swimmer Jake Packard and his Men’s 4×100-metre Medley Relay teammates also set a new Games record of 3.31.04.
USC para-swimmers Blake Cochrane and Ellie Cole both secured silver and bronze medals in their respective events and Tia-Clair Toomey already had the title of Fittest Woman on Earth before becoming a Commonwealth Games champion with a victory in the women’s 58-kilogram weightlifting category.
Ms Toomey finished with six successful lifts for a total of 201-kilograms and dedicated her emotional win to her 17-year-old cousin Jade Dixson, who was killed in a crash near Nambour before the Games started.
Australian Cycling Academy (ACA) rider Sam Welsford was also on form, securing two gold medals on the cycling track. Mr Welsford set a new world record time in the Men’s 4000-metre Team Pursuit and then went on to take out the Men’s 15-kilometre Scratch Race.
Mr Welsford competed alongside ACA riders Kelland O’Brien and Leigh Howard, with Alex Porter and Jordan Kerby completing the pursuit team.
Their winning time of 3:49.804 was nearly half a second faster than the previous world record. It is the first time an Australian men’s team has held the team pursuit world record since 2004.
ACA director Ben Kersten says staff and supporters of the USC-based academy are “over the moon” with the rider’s results.
“We’re lucky to have these guys in the national program and while they will be taking some well-earned time off, we will have them working hard on the Sunshine Coast until October, with the next international race in China in late July,” he says.
Australia finished at the top of the medal tally with a total of 198 medals, including 80 gold, 59 silver and 59 bronze.
Final Sunshine Coast medal tally
Geva Mentor – Netball (playing for England)
Kelsey Cottrell – Lawn Bowls Women’s Fours
Tia-Clair Toomey – Weightlifting Women’s 58kg Division
Leigh Howard – Cycling Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit
Kelland O’Brien – Cycling Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit
Sam Welsford – Cycling Men’s 4000m Team Pursuit and Men’s 15km Scratch Race
Jake Packard – Swimming Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay
Leah Neale – Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay
Caitlin Bassett – Netball
Steph Wood – Netball
Blake Cochrane – Swimming SM8 200m Individual Medley
Ellie Cole – Swimming S9 100m Backstroke
Liam Schluter – Swimming S14 200m Freestyle
Emily Sykes – Rugby Sevens
Ashley Fey – Hockey
Daniel Fox – Swimming S14 200m Freestyle
Blake Cochrane – Swimming SB8 100m Breaststroke
Ellie Cole – Swimming S9 100m Freestyle
Logan Powell – Swimming S9 100m Backstroke
Taylah Robertson – Boxing Women’s 51kg Division
Rosemaree Rixon – Lawn Bowls Women’s Fours (For Malta)
Connie-Leigh Rixon – Lawn Bowls Women’s Fours (For Malta)
Rebecca Rixon – Lawn Bowls Women’s Fours (For Malta)