The tiny country of New Zealand, tiny is terms of population that is, took three gold medals of the final day of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, giving them 15 golds and a total of 46 medals for the Games, good for fifth overall position of the 43 participating nations to win a medal of any sort.
Two of the three golds on the final day came from where they would be expected, rugby. The men’s and women’s sevens team swept the gold. The men won 14 – 0 over Fiji and the women beat the Aussies 17 – 12 in an extra-time thriller that was a shining moment for Kelly Brazier.
The Kiwis have to be the toughest lot by far. Imagine wearing black kits on a sweltering autumn day, just to put some perspective on things.
The other gold medal on the final day was supplied by the women’s doubles squash team of Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy. The match was indoors, so the heat presumably was not an issue, but the two women may have had somewhere they needed to be, as they needed only 21 minutes to win the match.
“I’m absolutely knackered,” King said after claiming her third medal. “Everyday we’d walk back into the village and all the other athletes would give us grief about still playing.”
On the negative side of the equation, the Silver Ferns managed to get into a game with Jamaica for the bronze medal, but poor execution left them trailing Jamaica 60 – 55 when the final siren sounded. Shooting woes continued to be their Achilles’ heel. They managed to convert only 68 percent of their chances, while the Jamaicans blistered the net at 91 percent.
They cannot be crticised for lack of effort. They persevered through the shooting woes to stay within reach, closing to within four with just over five minutes left, but the Jamaicans showed sufficient poise to hold off the surge and emerge victorious for the bronze medal.
New Zealand’s best showing at the Commonwealth Games was the 58 medals they won in 1990, when the games were held in Auckland.