Many of the world’s best Paralympians took centre stage over the last 11 days as they participated in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, which concluded on Sunday (15 April) in Queensland, Australia.
Gold Coast 2018 brought together around 300 Para athletes, who competed in 38 medal events across seven Para sports: athletics, lawn bowls, powerlifting, table tennis, track cycling, triathlon and swimming.
Wales’ Olivia Breen won the first gold of the competition with a new Games record and personal best in the long jump T38.
Another Welshwoman who shone was Hollie Arnold, who smashed the javelin F46 world record with a 44.43m throw.
Australia’s triple Paralympic silver medallist Madison de Rozario gave the home crowd a reason to celebrate as she took gold in the women’s 1,500m T54.
De Rozario, together with the retiring Kurt Fearnley, also ensured double success for the hosts, winning the men’s and women’s marathon T54 events.
Teenage star Isis Holt won her debut Commonwealth Games title on home soil, while England’s Rio 2016 gold medallist Sophie Hahn set a new event record on her way to gold in the women’s 100m T38.
Nigeria reached the top of the podium as Suwaibidu Galadi crossed the finish line first in the men’s 100m T47.
Nigeria displayed their powerlifting supremacy by sweeping all four golds in the competition. Esther Oyema and Ndidi Nwosu captured the women’s lightweight and heavyweight gold medals respectively, while Roland Ezuruike and Addulazeez Ibrahim earned top spot in the men’s lightweight and heavyweight categories.
The Australian crowd celebrated through Rio 2016 Olympian and Paralympian Melissa Tapper, who won the women’s singles TT6-10 following a 3-1 victory over Nigeria’s Faith Obazuaye in the final. Andrea McDonald ensured two Australians featured on the podium by collecting bronze.
Englishman Ross Wilson outclassed teammate Kim Daybell 3-1 in the gold medal match of the men’s singles TT6-10. South Africa’s Theo Cogill and Wales’ Joshua Stacey battled for bronze and it was the latter who prevailed 3-2 in thrilling fashion.
Sophie Thornhill stamped her authority as the world’s best Para cycling sprint rider with two world records on her way to double gold in the women’s 1000m time trial B&VI and sprint B&VI.
In the men’s events, Scotland’s Neil Fachie claimed a golden double of his own with wins in both the sprint B&VI and the 1000m time trial B&VI.
England enjoyed double success as Joe Townsend and Jade Jones secured gold in the men’s and women’s Para triathlon events, respectively.
Australia ended top of the sport’s medals table with seven golds. The first two days, however, saw a dominant display by English swimmers.
Thomas Hamer won the men’s 200m freestyle S14 in a world record time of 1:55.88*, while 16-year-old sensation Eleanor Robinson clinched gold in the women’s 50m butterfly S7 and Alice Tai was the fastest in the women’s 100m backstroke S9 to extend England’s initial dominance in the pool.
But Australian swimmers lived up to the expectations in the following days, taking six of the eight gold medals contested.
New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian ever Sophie Pascoe also shone with two titles in the women’s 200m individual medley SM10 and the women's 100m breaststroke SB9.
*world record subject to approval by World Para Swimming
The complete Gold Coast 2018 results can be found online.