Laetisha Scanlan claimed gold for Australia in the women’s trap on the Gold Coast.On Australia’s least successful day at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Sally Pearson watched a Nigerian hurdler take the gold medal designed for her.
Pearson’s injury-enforced absence hit home on Friday night when Oluwatobiloba Amusan won the 100m hurdles in a time 0.40 seconds slower than the Australian’s personal best.
The event was meant to be a joyous Games highlight for the host nation and Pearson – instead, the Olympic and world champion sat in the stands, nursing an Achilles injury.
Australia harvested just two gold medals on Friday the 13th – the nation’s most meagre medal day of the Games.
Shooter Lateisha Scanlan (women’s trap) and lawn bowler Aaron Wilson (men’s singles) triumphed – the host nation now has 65 golds, 34 more than next-best England.
Scanlan, on her 28th birthday, scraped into the trap final via a sudden-death shoot-off – and then won gold with a Games record, hitting 38 of 50 targets.
The crowd delivered an impromptu rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ and Scanlan wept tears of joy when hugging her father after securing consecutive Commonwealth titles.
“To go back-to-back, I’m rapt. I can’t even describe the feeling,” she said.
Lawn bowler Wilson celebrated in a different manner: he stripped off his shirt and, bare-chested, lapped up the cheers of the parochial crowd.
Wilson became just the third Australian bowler to win men’s singles gold.
And he credited his unusual celebration to 2006 Commonwealth men’s singles champion, countryman Kelvin Kerkow, who went topless after his win in Melbourne.
“He sent me a clip going back to when the Games (team) were selected and he said ‘this could be you’,” Wilson said.
“Obviously I had a look at it. I couldn’t help myself when it came down to the moment, chucked the shirt off, didn’t know where it went, but it was all in the groove.”
Wilson’s triumph came just hours after Australia men’s fours lawn bowlers were beaten for gold by Scotland.
Also snaring silver on Friday was 20-year-old shooter Sergei Evglevski in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event.
The son of six-time Commonwealth champion Lalita Yauhleuskaya was eclipsed by Indian 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala.
Australia’s 10m platform synchronised team of Domonic Bedggood and Declan Stacey, who first met each other 15 years ago when rival gymnasts, bagged bronze behind two English pairs.
And Bedggood took another bronze later when paired with Matthew Carter in the 3m springboard synchro final.
Fellow Australian divers Georgia Sheehan (silver) and Esther Qin (bronze) collected medals in the 1m springboard.
And compatriot Nina Kennedy took the bronze in the women’s pole vault.
There was success in the boxing ring with five fighters progressing to gold medal bouts on Saturday.
Australia’s women’s basketballers thrashed New Zealand 109-50 to advance into Sunday’s gold medal game against England.
And the nation’s men’s hockey team scraped past the Poms 2-1 in a semi-final, setting up a gold play-off against New Zealand on Saturday.
Australia’s Olympic champion women’s rugby sevens team started their campaign with two wins to assure a semi-final spot.
Australian Associated Press