New Zealand had another memorable day at the Commonwealth Games, with gold medals to weightlifter Richie Patterson and shooter Sally Johnston, silvers to swimmer Lauren Boyle, shot putter Tom Walsh and hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe and a bronze to squash player Joelle King.
Auckland weightlifter Richie Patterson has kicked off the biggest week of his life by winning the 85kg gold medal.
The good times keep getting better for Patterson who will marry fellow New Zealand team member Phillipa Hale in Scotland in a few days’ time.
“Everything’s going to plan so far,” he said. “I didn’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I was here to win the gold medal first.”
In truth, Patterson was clearly the best lifter in the field, but things got dicey when he missed his first two clean and jerk attempts, meaning his fate hinged on his final lift.
In the snatch he got 147kg and 151kg, but missed at 154kg. He held off entering the clean and jerk until his major rivals were finished.
Patterson chose 184kg, a weight he said he could lift any day of the week back home.
“The first jerk was out in front and on the second lift I had a slight elbow press out. The second one could have been given on another day, but they ruled it out.”
It came down to his final lift. As the weightlifting announcer dramatically said: if he got it he’d go home a gold medallist, if he missed he’d go home with nothing.
“I told myself to calm down and cleared my head. The third lift wasn’t perfect, but it did the job.”
Patterson totalled 335kg, which gave him a 2kg margin over Indian Vikas Thakur.
Julia Ratcliffe and Tom Walsh picked up silver medals for New Zealand in the athletics stadium.
Ratcliffe, just turned 21, continued her consistently good form in the women’s hammer throw to finish second behind Canadian Sultana Frizell.
After qualifying with a mark of 67.96m, Ratcliffe stepped it up in the final and her series of throws – 68.35m, 68.68m, 69.96m, 69.33m, 69.47m, followed by a foul – was excellent.
Frizell won with 71.97m and was in a class of her own, but Ratcliffe was clearly the next best.
The Waikato woman, who is studying economics at Princeton University, looks to have vast potential and clearly has a big-time temperament.
She said she had felt calm and enjoyed herself during the final. Having her father Dave, who is also her coach, in the stands was a help, she said.
Ratcliffe said that for a while she even had hopes of taking gold, but then told herself not to get too big for her britches. In the end she was delighted with her silver.
Walsh, also making his debut at a major games, was a strong second in the men’s shot put.
After qualifying first and setting a Games record, the man from Timaru became the focus of a fair bit of attention.
He appeared unfazed during the final and had throws of 20.73m, 20.96m, 21.19m, 20.84 and a foul. The gold went to Jamaican O’Dayne Richards, who was well ahead with 21.61m
Walsh, only 22, has been a quiet achiever of New Zealand sport, but his form over the past year marks him as an athlete of special ability.
Jacko Gill had a disappointing time of it in the shot put.
The Auckland 19-year-old qualified with an unremarkable 19.54m, and in the final could manage just 16.70m and 18.05m. He finished only 11th.
Brent Newdick and Scott McLaren had a long day in the men’s decathlon.
Newdick’s performances were: 100m – 11.18s; long jump – 7.22m; shot put – 13.96m; high jump – 1.93m; 400m – 52.97s.
McLaren recorded: 100m – 11.59s; long jump – 6.26m; shot put – a very good 14.35; high jump – 1.78m. He did not start in the 400m.
The decathlon is led at the halfway point by Damian Warner of Canada with 4378 points. Newdick is 11th with 3840 points.
Nikki Hamblin ran convincingly in her 1500m heat, finishing a comfortable second in 4min 05.08s behind Kenyan Hellen Obiri, who set a Games record of 4min 04.43s.
It hasn’t been the easiest of times of Hamblin, who won silver medals in the 800m and 1500m at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
She had surgery on bone spurs in both heels in 2012 and had to contend with an Achilles tendon tear and her comeback to full fitness has been gruelling and difficult.
Understandably, she was delighted and relieved with her run today.
"I was really nervous. Heat one was pretty stacked and to make the top four I had to run it like a final," she said.
"I was lucky I could ease off a bit in the last 30m. Up till that point I had to get up the front and run hard because there's always an advantage in the second heat as they know what time to run.
"I'm stoked, I think that was my second fastest time ever and it's come at the right time. My coach told me to trust it and I did. I didn't know it was going to be that good."
However, the news was not as good for the other New Zealand 1500m runner, Lucy van Dalen, who struggled all the way and was seventh in her heat in just 4min 14.86s.
Lower Hutt shooter Sally Johnston put a smile on New Zealand faces at the Barry Buddon shooting range when she won a gold medal in the 50m rifle prone women’s final.
The calm New Zealander won a thrilling contest by coming through in the sixth and final series to grab the gold from leader Esmari van Reenten of South Africa.
The 44-year-old New Zealander peeled off rounds of 102.6, 102.4, 103.4, 104.4, 104.4, 103.5 for a total of 620.7. Van Reenten could manage only 102.7 in her last series to give her a total of 620.1, and that slight slip was enough to let in Johnston.
The contest came down to Johnston’s final shot, when she needed 10 or better. She responded magnificently with a 10.6 and the gold was hers. As icing on the cake her total was a Commonwealth Games record.
Johnston won the bronze medal in the same event at Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
The other New Zealander in the field of 29, Jenna McKenzie, was 14th with a total of 612.2.
Natalie Rooney went within a whisker of winning bronze in the women’s trap.
Rooney was solid in the qualification round, with rounds of 22, 22, 23 for a total of 67. This placed her fourth equal.
In the semi-finals, she scored nine finals and went into a three-day shoot-off to gain the opportunity to shoot for the medal. She got through the shoot-off well, but then missed out in the bronze medal match, pipped by Caroline Povey of England.
New Zealander Ricky Zhao was well down the field in the men’s 50m pistol qualification, totalling 505 for the six rounds. This placed him 17th of 24 starters.
Myles Browne-Cole found the competition stiff on the first day of men’s trap qualification, totalling 44, which left him six off the pace and in equal 11th.
There was more heartening news in the men’s 50m rifle prone qualification. Ryan Taylor’s series of 102.6, 101.9, 103.5, 104.1, 103.9, 103.3 gave him a total of 619.3 and in sixth position. The other New Zealander in the field, Martin Hunt, shot 103.7, 101.8, 102.6, 104.7, 99.9, 109.7 for 615.4 and 13th in the field of 40. But for his poor fifth round, he’d have been right in it.
In the 50m rifle prone finals, involving eight shooters, Taylor finished sixth, reaching the fifth round.
John Snowden and Mike Collings continue to struggle after two days of the Queen’s Prize individual final.
The New Zealanders, who shot so well in Delhi four years ago, are well down the 34-strong field, which is led by Jersey’s Barry le Cheminant with 254 points.
Snowden has had rounds of 34, 35, 33, 49, 50, 50 for 251 points and 17th place. Collings has shot 35, 33, 31, 48, 50, 50 for 247 and 24th. There is one day remaining in this competition.
New Zealand swim queen Lauren Boyle won a hard-earned silver medal in the women’s 800m freestyle final.
Boyle, 26, swam stroke for stroke with Welsh woman Jazz Carlin for most of the journey and still led after 600m. However, Carlin put in a sizzling final 200m and Boyle could not hold on.
Carlin was timed at 8min 18.11s, a Games record. Boyle eventually finished second in 8min 20.59s. Her time at the halfway point was 4min 09.55s. Canadian Brittany MacLean was third in 8min 20.91s.
“I'm really happy. It's bitter-sweet and hard to describe, but I'm really happy with how I did,” Boyle said immediately after the race.
“At the end of an 800 you're always feeling tired and I wanted to try and have something left, but I just didn't have enough there.”
Boyle’s was the New Zealand team’s second medal in Glasgow, after Sophie Pascoe’s breaststroke gold medal.
In the men’s 50, breaststroke, Glenn Snyders finished fifth in 27min 53s.
Corey Main gave the 200m backstroke final his best shot and for a time threatened to cause a huge upset.
Main led the race for half the journey, touching first at 100m in 56.71s. Thereafter he was overhauled by a trio of Australians and was finished fourth, just out of the medals, in 1min 57.79s.
Australian Mitch Larkin won the race in 1min 55.83s.
Main had qualified third in his morning heat, in 1min 57.86s.
Samantha Lee missed out on making the women’s 200m butterfly final when her heats time of 2min 13.63s left her in 11th place and more than two seconds outside the top eight.
Joelle King completed her sweep of Commonwealth Games medals when she picked up the bronze in the squash women’s singles.
King, 25, won the third place playoff against Englishwoman Alison Waters 11-7, 11-7, 11-5.
It was expected to be a close match – King is ranked No 4 in the world and Waters No 6 – but the New Zealander got on top early and dominated proceedings.
“We knew Alison had had a really tough semi-final, so I wanted to make it hard for her early. I put my pedal to the metal and kept my focus for three sets.”
The Waikato player said that while a gold would have been nice, she was “over the moon” to have picked up a medal.
The New Zealander won Commonwealth Games gold (women’s doubles) and silver (mixed doubles) medals at Delhi in 2010.
Tomorrow she turns her attention again to the doubles and the mixed.
Jo Edwards was quickly back into action after the excitement of winning the women’s singles on Sunday.
She has teamed with fellow Nelsonian Val Smith again in the women’s pairs – the pair are former world champions – and they have set a hot pace. In their opening matches they beat Kenya 21-14.
In the women’s triples, Selina Goddard, Amy McIlroy and Mandy Boyd opened with a comprehensive 21-7 beating of the Cook Islands.
And in the open triples, Lynda Bennett, Barry Wynks and Mark Noble edged past Australia 11-8 in a fiercely contested match.
In the men’s singles, Shannon McIlroy got his campaign off to a promising start by beating Northern Irishman Martin McHugh 21-7.
The New Zealand men’s four of Tony Grantham, Blake Signal, Richard Girvan and Ali Forsyth had a gripping match with Malaysia. They looked gone at 14-6 down after 10 ends, but fought back to draw the match 14-14, picking up shots on each of the final five ends.
The New Zealand boxers had a win and a loss.
Welterweight Bowyn Morgan struck a tough customer in Botswana’s Mmusi Tswuge and eventually won a split points decision. The pair split the first two rounds, but the New Zealander finished stronger in the third, scoring a knockdown to grab the decision.
Middleweight Eric Finau became the first New Zealand boxer to lose when he was outpointed by South African Siphiwe Lusizi. Though Finau fought gamely, the South African was too accomplished and built a commanding points lead.
New Zealand struggled in the men’s artistic gymnastics team final and individual competition.
Three disciplines were completed – floor, pommel horse and rings.
David Reid scored 14.366 (floor), 12.533 (horse) and 12.933 rings. Kristofer Done scored 12.100 (floor), 12.566 (horse) and 13.300 (rings). Mikhail Koudinov scored 13.258 (floor), 13.083 (horse) and 13.333 (rings). Reid McGowan scored 11.033 on the horse. Matthew Palmer scored 11.933 on the floor and 14.500 on the rings.
New Zealand has 119.039 points and lies seventh at the midway point.
The New Zealand women eked out a hard-fought 2-1 win over South Africa to keep their unbeaten record.
The score was 1-1 at halftime, with the New Zealand goal coming from Anita Punt from a penalty corner in the 12th minute. South Africa got back on level terms just before halftime.
New Zealand notched the winner in the 51st minute with a field goal by Krystal Forgesson.