After a week of adrenaline and excitement the Commonwealth Games has come to a close. From epic marathons to relay heartbreak these Games delivered it all. With five Essendon athletes selected to represent Australia it was our largest cohort selected to compete at a Commonwealth Games and we are incredibly proud of the performances that were put on display by our athletes.
The athletics program kicked off last Saturday with the marathon and it was a race to remember with Liam Adams racing off to an early lead. Our brave “weekend warrior” didn’t let a mishap with his phone pre-race stop him from putting on one of the best performances of his career as he powered home in 2:13:23 to finish 4th. With his phone not correctly registering the course, Liam raced on instinct and set a brave pace at the front of the leading pack.
Liam’s performance saw him instantly become a fan favourite with Aussie viewers. His inspiring backstory as a full-time electrician working 40-hour weeks had the Aussie’s back home inspired.
“Hopefully all the weekend warriors, anyone working 9-5 who’s battling with the work-running type of lifestyle, hopefully they can look at that and find some inspiration. If I can do it, then they can do it too.” Liam Adams via Fox Sports.
Tuesday night saw Chris Mitrevski line up in the men’s long jump. Sporting a fresh haircut and moustache to match it was a throwback to last century. There was much excitement in our clubrooms as members came in to watch Mitrevski jump to qualify for the final. Despite missing the automatic qualifier Mitrevski made it through to the final where he jumped 7.70m (+1.5) to claim 9th spot.
Backing up from impressive runs in Oregon Linden Hall was out to lead the way for the Australian women in the 1500m. Hall navigated the heats easily securing a spot in the final alongside fellow Aussies Abbey Caldwell and Jessica Hull. In the final Hall found herself sitting comfortably in the middle of the pack for the first lap and a half before being edged forward to the front of the pack half way through the second lap before finding herself back in the middle. At the final 150m Hall found herself sitting 5th. With 20m to go she passed Jemma Reekie (Scotland) and Winnie Nanyondo (Uganda) to find herself in third spot before being beaten to third by Abbey Caldwell (Australia). Hall crossed the line in 4:05.09 to finish 4th.
For the first time since 1974 the club found itself with two athletes in the men’s 4x100m relay team. With Josh Azzopardi coming out of the blocks strongly it was Jacob Despards time to shine on debut. With a clean swift changeover Despard flew down the backstraight pulling away from the pack. The changeover from Despard to fellow Taswegian Jack Hale was flawless and Hale came flying off the bend. Unfortunately, Rohan Browning tripped and fell preventing the team from finishing the race. Whilst the result wasn’t the one the team was hoping for it was still an impressive performance and the sportsmanship shown to rally behind Browning was something we’re all proud of. Despard and Hale have now been the fourth pair in the club’s history to feature in the same relay team at the Commonwealth Games. They join Peter Norman and Gary Holdsworth (1966), Peter Norman and Greg Lewis (1970) and Greg Lewis and Laurie D’Arcy (1974).
We’d like to acknowledge the outstanding coverage provided across the Games by our former athletes Tamsyn Manou and Jason Richardson.
Congratulations to all our athletes on their incredible performances you did your club and country proud.