As a country that takes its sport a little too seriously, Australia’s record at the Commonwealth Games glitters with more gold than Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pool and these champions contributed more than their fair share of medals to the tally.
Commonwealth Games Australia’s funding programs continue to support Australia’s best young and developing athletes as they compete across the world in our partner sports, here are some of the highlights from the past year of action. Let’s exploce Australia’s Best Commonwealth Games Athletes below.
Australia’s Best Commonwealth Games Athletes
Commonwealth Games Australia funding assisted Rugby Australia in sending teams to the World School Sevens international tournament held in Auckland, New Zealand in December 2019. Australia’s young female rugby talent continues to shine on the international stage with the Australian girls’ schools sevens team winning the tournament. Led by NSW’s Bienne Terita, who was named player of the tournament, the Aussie girls defeated Japan in the Cup final in Hamilton. Keebra Park’s Tiana Raftstrand Smith and cross code talent Jaime Chapman were all named with Terita in the team of the tournament after star efforts across the weekend of competition.
The surge of talented teenage girls in Aussie sevens is immense, with rising stars Maddison Ashby, Sariah Paki, Georgia Hannaway, Jakiya Whitfeld and Hagiga Mosby already playing with the Australian national team. The Australian boys’ schools sevens team were unable to defend their 2018 title and were knocked out of the tournament by the New Zealand Fijian team in the semi finals, but the team showcased the strong potential our young rugby players have now and as our rugby 7s programs continue to build towards Birmingham 2022.
Through the Commonwealth Games Australia funding, Triathlon Australia has been able to develop and progress our athletes’ knowledge and skills through facilitation of multiple opportunities across the Para triathlon, under 23, and junior athlete groups. In May 2019, Triathlon Australia held para triathlon cycling camp at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) designed to bring an extended group, including support staff together at in a multi facility, elite training environment. The camp not only allowed support staff to assess and address any needs of the group, including equipment needs but also promoted team culture within the national team program.
Triathlon Australia conducted an under 23 development camp in March 2020. The camp provided an identified group of pre elite young athletes with an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the mixed relay competition specific event demands and expose the young athletes to examples of the technical and tactical practices of the “worlds best” triathletes. The technical and tactical exercises including cornering, u-turns, drafting, change over and transition drills, and tactical awareness training to help prepare the young triathletes for their next elite competitions.
Landy never won Commonwealth gold but his silver medal performance in the mile race at the 1954 Empire Games in Vancouver is legendary, running second to British icon Roger Bannister in a meeting dubbed ‘The Miracle Mile’.
The Race of the Century’ and the ‘Dream Race’. His legend grew at the 1956 national championships in the lead-up to the Melbourne Olympics when he sacrificed his own position in the race to assist a rival runner who had tripped, then again in 2001 when he was sworn in as the Governor of Victoria.
The ‘golden girl’ of the 1938 Empire Games received the kind of rapturous ovations from the Sydney Cricket Ground crowd that were normally saved for the great Sir Donald Bradman.
Norman collected five gold medals in the athletics arena a record haul that remained intact for 52 years to become the star of the first Games held on Australian soil, and it was a great shame she didn’t get the opportunity to test herself against the world’s best when the outbreak of World War II cancelled the 1940 Olympics.
Robert de Castella
Australia’s greatest ever marathon runner was known as ‘Deek’ by an adoring Australian public, but nicknamed ‘Tree’ by rivals for his strength and stature, a moniker he more than lived up to at the Commonwealth Games.
De Castella strode to victory on home soil at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane before defending his crown four years later in Edinburgh. This is once of Australia’s Best Commonwealth Games Athletes.