I know some people find it hard to get excited about the Commonwealth Games, although try telling that to the Australians. Over six days in the swimming pool they produced a proper gold rush – 28 gold medals in all, and 73 of the total 150 medals won in the pool. Few other countries could even make a splash.
You start to wonder how it all could be so easy, then you realise there are so many events in swimming, the same swimmers often returning over and over again. At one stage I saw an Australian swimmer on the podium being presented with her medal, and a few minutes later she was lining up for the next event.
If it wasn’t for the fast times, even world records, you would wonder about the level of competition at the Commonwealth Games. Even with 71 nations or territories represented, if felt like a home championships for the Australians. The crowds and venues on the beautiful Gold Coast playing a part too.
That all changed when the track and field events began. Compared to the World championships and the Olympics, where over 200 countries are represented, the Commonwealth Games are just a small pocket of countries competing for glory. But does it really matter as long as the race is competitive and engages the audience?
Plenty of drama
The women’s 10,000 metres provided plenty of drama: no breakaways, the lead constantly changing, and eight athletes still fighting out for the medals over the final circuit.
That gold medal in the end went to the Ugandan athlete Stella Chesang, in 31:45.30. There really are no soft gold medals on the track and that is evident here across a number of events. The women’s 1,500m final was one of the most eagerly awaited races, usually one of the more unpredictable too. Only this time it had very little unpredictability over the winner, and it was up to the rest of the field to try to change the script.