Walkers back on the road - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Walkers back on the road

By Mike Hedge 24/03/2006 06:04:13 AM Comments (0)

The speed and grace of Jana Pittman will be replaced by the waddling of the walkers as Australia attempts another clean sweep in its specialty event.

With one gold medal already won in the 20km walk, Nathan Deakes will wander the streets of Melbourne for around three and a half hours and almost certainly come home with a second.

Deakes led home an Australian trifecta in the shorter race, as did Jane Saville in the women's road walk.

And it could be the same with teammates Duane Cousins and Chris Erickson expected to take the minor medals.

Track and field athletes have won gold medals on each of the past two days and the trend is set to continue with Bronwyn Thompson in the long jump.

Thompson is a clear favourite to turn around a career dogged by injury and misfortune.

The national record-holder is approaching the form that made her a legitimate world championship contender after she finished fourth at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Thompson breezed into the final with one jump, a 6.71m effort from well behind the board.

Kerrie Taurima, the wife of Sydney Olympic silver medallist Jai Taurima, and Lisa Morrison also qualified for the final.

Night seven of the track and field will also see the return of Craig Mottram after his silver-medal winning performance in the 5000m on Monday.

Mottram will run in the heats of the 1500m and should have no problems booking a place in Saturday's final.

The day nine program also includes heats of the men's 4x100 and 4x400 and women's 4x100 relays while Paul Burgess, runner-up in Manchester, will look to go one better in the pole vault along with Steven Hooker and Dmitri Markov.

Silver medallist from the 1500m, Sarah Jamieson will contest the 5000m along with Eloise Wellings, while hammer thrower Stuart Rendell will also be in action.

Australia's success at the shooting ranges should be added to by Lauryn Mark, the defending champion in the women's skeet.

Other Australians in shooting action include brothers George and Clive Barton in the individual skeet.

But the highlight of the shooting could be India's Samaresh Jung in the 25m centre fire pistol who is looking to equal the record of swimmers Susie O'Neill and Ian Thorpe by claiming six gold medals at a Games.

With Australia's women's basketballers having beaten New Zealand for the gold medal on Thursday night, it will be the turn of the men to do the same on Friday night.

The Boomers face the Tall Blacks in the first men's basketball final in Commonwealth Games history.

Having produced two gold medals already, diving is expected to add another in the men's synchronised events.

The key to the medal prospects is Robert Newbery who is partnered with Steven Barnett in the 3m springboard and Mathew Helm in the 10m platform.

Newcomers Matthew Mitcham and Scott Robertson will compete in the 3m synchronised final in the evening, while Sharleen Stratton and Kathryn Blackshaw are in the 1m springboard individual event in both the morning and evening sessions.

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