It’s funny how a silver in one event can be such a disappointment while a bronze in another is celebrated like a gold. The Sevens team were expected to add to their four consecutive Comm Games golds, yet having mostly cruised into the final (a hiccup here or there), they found themselves up against a brutally good South African defence with just enough firepower to take down the kiwis. The yellow card habit was a worry, but you can’t be too upset at losing to a team that didn’t even concede a point in the group phase. We’re still ahead of South Africa in the medal standings anyway.
Ah, but the Robertson Bros. What a story! A pair of lanky 24-year old twins from Hamilton, they moved to Kenya at 17 after being outdone at age group meets by the Africans, deciding to immerse themselves in the culture that consistently produces so many brilliant long distance runners. An amazing sacrifice and it sure helped, as Zane stormed home for a bronze medal (brother Jake looked good too, but got caught up with compatriot Nick Willis and tripped). The first two places were Kenyans, obviously. It may have only been a bronze, but it was a bronze well earned. You’ve gotta love seeing an athlete get reward for such hard work and immersion in his sport and training.
And long distance running is such a talismanic part of the Games too. In fact, all of the track and field is right up there. And given that we’re so rarely exposed to great track meets outside of the Olympics, it was a joy to watch the athletics get underway overnight – and made even better by the New Zealanders involved. To say Tom Walsh looked impressive is an understatement, and we haven’t even seen Valerie Adams yet. The one I’m most looking forward to is Nick Willis in the 1500m. He’s in great form, and he has a point to prove after his 5000m efforts.
Were Scotland always this good though? I know they compete under the ‘Great Britain’ banner at the Olympics but damn, third pace!? Ahead of Canada, ahead of South Africa, ahead of India. Ahead of us! Rabbie Burns would be proud.
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I'm pretty gutted that the Sevens team couldn't continue their reign over the Commonwealth Games rugby world. We don't cover much rugby here at the Niche Cache but to underestimate our rugby knowledge would be unwise of you, so it cuts deep having grown up with the rugby lads basically holding down the gold medal hopes of us Kiwis. Ah well, it happens and a silver is still extremely nice.
Nick Willis was celebrated as the man who could put NZ back on the map in terms of running around a track a few times, but I reckon these Robertson twins should go above and beyond Willis. Is it Zane who won bronze? Well yeah, either way to get on the podium in one of the true blue Olympic events is pretty special and damn, it could of been so much better if Willis hadn't tripped up the other Robertson twin. Hmmmm anyone else get the passing of the torch sense?
A few days in to my Commonwealth Games experience I've experienced what I love about the Games. To be able to see sports that aren't in the Olympics and nor should they be in my opinion, played at the Com Games is awesome. The likes of lawn bowls and netball are an example of sports that make the Com Games different ... I'd say the same about rugby sevens but that's soon going to change. The Olympics should be kept as an exclusive kind of event where the sports that have long been Olympic regulars should remain and be the pinnacle ... football should definitely not be at the Olympics. But the Com Games is ours, as in it's for the Commonwealth so let any sport be a part of it because I bloody love sitting down and watching lawn bowls.
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Zane Robertson – That was New Zealand’s first medal in the 5000m since the metric conversion. Murray Halberg (The legend that is) won back to back golds when it was still the three mile race.
The Judoka – Coz that’s what they’re called, apparently. The kiwi Judo team get zero government funding, yet they’ve come away with … medals. Two silvers and a gold. Still no idea how the sport works, but it’s fun to watch.
NZ Cycling – A team record 11 medals, including 4 golds. Two of those golds went to the impressive Sam Webster, who also added a silver in the Kierin overnight. Don’t forget too that this cycling field is world class, as it’s the British and Australians who traditionally dominate on the track.
Tom Walsh – He was the first to say that he hasn’t won anything yet, despite his qualifying dominance. Walsh beat the Commonwealth Games record with his first throw, and qualified a full metre ahead of the next best shot putter. Come on Tommy!
Jake Robertson & Nick Willis – Jake coz he tripped, Willis coz it was he who tripped him. Apologies were made and hard feelings were non-existent. Just bad luck in a tight race. JR ended up 9th and NW 10th in the 5k race and they each compete again, the former in the 10k, the latter in the 1500m.
Swimming – Thank God for Sophie Pascoe, who won New Zealand’s first gold medal in the pool since the 1990 Games in the 100m breaststroke SB9. There were some high hopes for the kiwi swim team, but so far it’s been underwhelming.
The Journalists of the Commonwealth – Did you see Usain Bolt’s press conference? What a farce! Questions included his views on the situation in Gaza, what he thinks of the host city and whether he’d mind taking a selfie with the Channel 9 news team.