In a dazzling day at the Commonwealth Games, Australia glittered in almost all competitions across Day Nine. Australians picked up medals, secured chances at gold medals, and held their nerve when it mattered most.
There were stories of redemption, of revenge, of clutch, and history was made all across Birmingham.
World Championships redemption at Birmingham in classic performances
Ollie Hoare was disappointed to be knocked out in the semi finals of the 1500m at the World Championships a fortnight ago in Eugene. Making the Commonwealth Games final, he was determined to find redemption for himself.
And so, as the 1500m set off, at a rapid pace, Hoare was holding tight and in with a chance. As Jake Wightman, the World Champion a fortnight ago, kicked with 250m to go, Hoare was in fourth, behind Wightman and two Kenyans, Abel Kipsang and Timothy Cheruiyot.
At the top of the final straight, Hoare was a few metres behind, and wide on the track, Hoare produced the sprint of his life to pip Cheruiyot on the line by a matter of millimetres. Hoare is the first Australian to win the event since Herb Elliot in 1958, with a new personal best and Commonwealth Games record of 3:30.12.
Another Australian looking for redemption after disappointment in Eugene was Kurtis Marschall. The pole vaulter failed to clear the qualifying height in Eugene, and was looking to improve, and defend his 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Marschall started slowly, missing his first two attempts at 5.50m, bringing back memories of Tokyo 2020, where he failed on three attempts in the final, and Eugene. Marschall cleared the height on the third attempt, and then cleared 5.55m and 5.60m to seal the gold medal.
He raised the bar to 5.70m, cleared it, before being unable to set a new Commonwealth Games record, with three misses at 5.81m.
Jemima Montag strolls to victory in 10,000m walk
Jemima Montag won the 20km walk at the Gold Coast in 2018, but with the event reduced in distance, all eyes were on the Australian, as she led a field of eight around 25 laps of the track.
Montag wasn't the fastest starter, but halfway through the race stepped up her pace to start to pull away from the field. Her time of 42:34 was enough for her to lap some of the competitors in the race, and take victory by half a minute.
Fellow Aussies Rebecca Henderson and Katie Hayward finished fourth and seventh respectively, after being dropped early in the race.
In the high jump, Eleanor Patterson was unable to back up her World Championship heroics, unable to clear 1.95m on three attempts. Her clean sheet up to 1.92m gave her the silver medal on countback.
Nervewracking finish brings home gold in Lawn Bowls
In the women's pairs, Ellen Ryan and Kristina Krstic were slow out of the gates, down 10-2 early. The Aussies found their way to change the dynamic and bring it back to level pegging, with a miraculous finish after ten ends.
The match went to an extra end, and the Aussies capitalised on their momentum and took home the gold medal after the extra end. It makes Ryan the first person to take home gold in both the singles and pairs at a single Commonwealth Games.
Aaron 'Disco' Wilson won gold in 2018 in the men's singles, and was able to repeat his heroics, and then repeated his epic celebration, parading around the green shirtless in victory.
Diving is on for young and old with gold
At just 14 years of age, Charli Petrov is the youngest member of the Australian Commonwealth Games team, diving with Melissa Wu, who has been competing at the Commonwealth Game since before Petrov was born.
The duo competed in the women's 10m synchronised platform, and took home the gold medal with a brilliant performance. Petrov is a year older than Wu was when she won her first Commonwealth Games silver medal in 2006.
The 10m platform duo were matched by their 3m synchronised springboard teammates, who took home gold an hour earlier. Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith took home gold in another redemption story.
In 2018, Keeney and Smith were in the gold medal position with one dive remaining, but missed the mark and fell all the way to last in a disastrous moment.
Diamonds shine bright in their redemption story
Four years ago, the Australian Diamonds fell to the English Roses in the gold medal match. This time, the match was for the chance to fight for a gold medal against Jamaica.
The Australians were determined to end the home side's chances of winning a home gold medal, exacting revenge for 2018. The pressure was huge early, with everyone stretched to breaking point, including the goal post, courtesy of Layla Guscoth.
As the match wore on, the Australians started to get on top, as the English defence didn't have an answer for Steph Wood and Gretel Bueta in the attacking third.
Courtney Bruce was her usual fiery self, unsettling Jo Harten and Eleanor Cardwell, as she underpinned a strong defensive effort from the Diamonds, as she was well supported by Ash Brazill.
In the end, the Aussies triumphed 60-51, and booked a place in tomorrow's gold medal match against Jamaica.
Australians chase down White Ferns to advance to gold medal match
After Meg Lanning won the toss, she tossed the ball to Megan Schutt, who had the Aussies on the front foot early, with the wicket of Suzie Bates in the first over.
Schutt had the ball in hand in the fifth over again, and struck with the wicket of Georgia Plimmer, leaving the White Ferns at 2/39 after six overs. From there, Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr steadied, taking the Kiwis to 2/101 after 15 overs.
Jess Jonassen and Tahlia McGrath each struck to remove Devine and Kerr, as the White Ferns finished with 144, setting the Australians a tough target.
Lea Tahuhu caused trouble early, ripping through Australia's top order, but Beth Mooney and McGrath steadied the ship to put the Aussies in position for a tight finish. It was left to Ash Gardner and Grace Harris in the final over, but Gardner showed her class to carry the Australians over the line with three balls to spare.
Alex Kiroi-Bogatyreva finds her rhythm
Alex Kiroi-Bogatyreva was involved in three individual finals in the Rhythmic Gymnastics overnight. She finished fifth in with the ball, and with the ribbon.
It was her eye-catching routine with the clubs that was the highlight of her night, as she took home the gold medal. It completed her set of Birmingham 2022 medals, after a bronze in the individual all-around, and the team silver earlier in the week.
Fellow Australian Lidiia Iakovleva finished sixth in the hoop final as well.
Two hopes for gold on the beach to come
The Men's Beach Volleyball team of Chris McHugh and Paul Burnett are into the gold medal, after defeating Rwanda in the semi final. It was a tight first set early, up to 17-all, before the Australians pulled away to finish the first set 21-18.
They took the second set more comfortably, finish 21-14 to book their place in the gold medal match, as McHugh and Burnett look to defend their gold medal from four years ago.
Not to be outdone, Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho del Solar booked their own place in the gold medal match. Their straight sets win over Vanuatu came with a marathon first set that ended 26-24.
The experienced Aussies had enough to get it done in the second set, 21-16 to book a chance to get revenge on Canada in a repeat of the gold medal match on the Gold Coast.
Aussies give themselves a fighting chance of a gold medal
There were five Aussies in action in the Boxing, with Kaye Scott and Callum Peters the headline acts. Peters produced one of the performances of the Games as he was clinical to move into the gold medal match.
Scott's match was hard fought, against Alcinda Panguane, who was the silver medalist at the recent World Championships, and the gold medal favourite.
Scott is the oldest member of the Boxing team, while Peters, at just 19, is the youngest, and each will fight for the gold medal tonight.
The news was less good for the other three Australian boxers, as Caitlin Parker, Tina Rahimi and Edgardo Coumi each lost their bouts. The trio will go home with bronze medals, in a quirk of boxing that gives semi final losers a bronze, rather than make them fight again.
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