Kookaburras rout India to proceed hockey dominance as golden Games attain to a shut

On the hole evening of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, Eddie Ockenden marched into Alexander Stadium, carrying the Australian flag with the broadest of smiles. A renowned servant of Australian hockey for 16 years, Ockenden used to be a popular different for the glory. His excellence with the hockey stick and his humility away from the pitch possess been on display over again on Monday because the Kookaburras completed the Games with a gold medal.

A decider pitting the silver and bronze medallists come what could three hundred and sixty five days’s Tokyo Olympics in opposition to every a selection of soon became a mismatch as Australia trounced India 7-0 in a romp to the gold medal. This used to be seventh heaven for Australian hockey, with the Kookaburras having claimed all seven tournaments when the sport used to be performed within the Commonwealth Games. Australia possess now gained 41 of the 42 fits they’ve performed at this stage. In finals, the mixed scoreline reads 33-2. Routs possess turn into routine.

Ockenden, who equalled Kookaburra huge Ticket Knowles as a four-time gold medallist, has now featured in four memorable campaigns. An Olympic gold is the lacking fragment. He has a silver medal from Tokyo and bronzes from Beijing and London. Despite the truth that 35, he harbours ambitions for Paris in 2024.

“It has been amazing. You gained’t salvage anything else else in your existence you’ll be ready to manufacture so passionately,” Ockenden acknowledged. “To be able to play hockey for thus prolonged and manufacture what I’ve been ready to manufacture, I truly possess been very fortunate.”

The Australians scored from seven of their 23 photos for goal whereas limiting India to pleasing five makes an strive. It could be argued Indian keeper PR Sreejesh did neatly given the barrage. Jacob Anderson and Nathan Ephraums scored two needs every, whereas Blake Govers, Tom Wickham and Flynn Ogilvie possess been furthermore on the scoresheet.

Captain Aran Zalewski shared the co-captaincy with Ockenden and used to be paunchy of reward for the Tasmanian who is easy working spherical “delight in a spring hen”. “He’s performed a fable quantity of video games for the Kookaburras, however he’s one of these humble man and huge fella,” he acknowledged.

After the Diamonds recorded the nation’s 1,000th Commonwealth Games gold medal on Sunday evening, the Kookaburras took the tally to 1,001 on Monday. Silver and bronze medals possess been furthermore claimed in diving, alongside with one more silver in table tennis, on a smaller program of events main into the closing ceremony.

Jian Fang Lay and Minhyung Jee possess been beaten 3-0 by a Singapore combination within the girls’s table tennis doubles final. But for Lay, 49, winning one more silver medal 20 years after managing the identical feat on debut for Australia in Manchester is a occasion in itself. “I’m so happy with that effort. It is amazing,” she acknowledged.

Australia ended the Commonwealth Games with 67 gold medals, 11 forward of 2nd-positioned England. The Australians claimed 178 medals total to edge the host nation by two. Other than Glasgow in 2014, the Australians possess topped the table in every Commonwealth Games since 1990.

Minhyung Jee (left) and Jian Fang Lay in action against the Singaporean duo of Tianwei Feng and Jian Zeng.
Minhyung Jee (left) and Jian Fang Lay in action in opposition to the Singaporean duo of Tianwei Feng and Jian Zeng. Photograph: Darren England/AAP

Australian chef de mission Petria Thomas, who contributed nine of these golds at some level of a renowned swimming career, praised the squad for the excellence of their performances.

“It is an honour to lead this team and search our Aussies shine each and each on and off the sphere,” she acknowledged. “The team has performed on the sphere of play and, in overall, pleasing the intention they’ve conducted themselves out and about, they’ve been huge ambassadors for Australia.”

Thomas did concede there used to be an occasional blemish. Eyebrows possess been raised when cricketer Tahlia McGrath performed the closing despite testing particular for Covid-19 on the morning of the match. It used to be within the principles of this opponents.

Australia instituted stricter principles than a selection of countries when it came to Covid precautions, though about a of the nearly 700 athletes did stretch the boundaries. Decent coffee retail outlets had an growing quantity of athletes together with these carrying the inexperienced and gold because the Games went on.

“We absolutely made it very sure to our team people what the expectations possess been spherical our Covid protocols. But having acknowledged that, other folks are human. They manufacture mistakes,” she acknowledged. “There possess been some these that didn’t set apart on masks for a selection of causes at a selection of times. But in your total, we possess done a shining good job.”

Joining Ockendon as a flag bearer, the embellished diver Melissa Wu used to be given the glory of main a triumphant team into Alexander Stadium to shut the Games. A silver medallist in Melbourne in 2006 as a 13-three hundred and sixty five days-former, Wu added one more spotlight to her career when partnering 14-three hundred and sixty five days-former Charli Petrov to a gold medal within the 10m synchronised platform in Birmingham.

The 30-three hundred and sixty five days-former had planned to revel in about a slices of pizza whereas staring at the closing ceremony from the athletes village, however used to be sharp to embrace the glory. “I will most likely be a little bit overwhelmed by it. I’m pleasing going to after all grasp it all in and revel in it. It’s going to be an infinite 2nd,” she acknowledged.

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