Hobart duo Jack Hale and Hamish Peacock both qualified for their respective Commonwealth Games finals while sharing the Carrara Stadium athletics track.
“I gave him a little cheer as he ran past,” joked Peacock who qualified first in the javelin in the same corner of the stadium where Hale was running the third leg of Australia’s successful 4×100-metres relay heat.
Both athletes now face finals, also just five minutes apart, on Saturday afternoon seeking to build on their home state’s record medal haul at a Commonwealth Games.
“I know so no pressure eh?” Peacock added. “We’re absolutely killing it here so hopefully I can continue that tomorrow.”
Competing in the second of two qualifying groups, the 27-year-old reigning Australian champion threw conservative distances of 74.58m and 76.49m before landing an 81.22m stunner with his final effort.
It was one of seven automatic qualifiers above 78.00m.
“I was happy to get an 81 on that third throw. Probably left it later than I would have liked,” he said
“I was sitting safe after the first two rounds so there wasn’t a great deal of pressure on that last throw but I do need to lift my intensity for tomorrow night, which I will.
“I just fired up a bit more. It didn’t technically feel great but I managed to get what we call a long pull when your arm stays back as long as it can and then you get a sling action going and get good speed on it.
“If I can get in a better position I can push for a big throw tomorrow. I’m definitely going for gold.”
In a huge shock, Kenya’s world champion Julius Yego, who topped the podium when Peacock won bronze in Glasgow, could only throw 74.55 (18m short of his personal best) and did not reach the final.
“The depth was really strong,” Peacock said. “Around 75m for top 12 is one of the strongest ever. That’s good depth so it’s going to be a good final.
“I’m not setting myself a distance target more getting out there, seeing what the conditions are like and I’m going for the win. A PB would be awesome (currently 84.39m).
“The crowd is just superb. Tomorrow is the last athletics session so I’m assuming it’s going to be packed to the rafters with a big atmosphere.”
Hale ran the third leg in the Australian relay team also featuring Trae Williams, Rohan Browning and Josh Clarke which clocked a season’s best 38.78 to qualify behind South Africa (38.71).
“Awesome race to come out with a season’s best,” Hale said. “I think everyone is rapt with the run and can’t wait for the final.
“If we can use any crowd support to our advantage we will. The crowd is definitely lifting all the boys and I’m sure they will again tomorrow. The way we are moving now, anything can happen in the final.”
Asked if there is likely to be any change to the Australian line-up for the final, with Alex Hartmann also in the squad, 19-year-old Hale said: “We always have a reserve if anything happens but I think pretty comfortably right now we can say that this will be the final team.
“We’ve just run a season’s best 38.78 and there’s definitely more to come. We have such good exchanges and now have the boys that can really lift and run 10.1s consistently and that could be a dangerous relay.”
Kenya, Ghana and Antigua and Barbuda were all withdrawals from Australia’s relay heat, but Hale said the team made the most of the competition which remained.
“We copped a really good lane draw having Trinidad and Tobago on the inside and South Africa on the outside so that was all we were looking at and was perfect.
“Coming out in a team event you just know the crowd are going to get around you so much more.”
The Melbourne-based former world youth and junior representative is relishing his maiden Commonwealth Games.
“I’m loving it. The village is awesome, a really relaxing place to be able to chill. And coming out to this stadium was surreal and something I haven’t experienced before.
Seeing a lot of Tasmanian success here has been awesome. Hamish and Stewy (McSweyn) can really go incredibly well. Stewy already has in the 5000.”
Peacock’s javelin final is scheduled to start at 2.35pm on Saturday with the 4x100m relay final at 2.40pm.
Launceston basketballers Chris Goulding and Lucas Walker begin Tasmanian involvement on the penultimate day of the Games when the Boomers face a semi-final against Scotland at 10.03am while Hobart’s Eddie Ockenden and Jeremy Edwards will both feature in the hockey medal matches from 7.02pm.
TOMORROW’S SCHEDULE (SATURDAY APRIL 14)
10.03am basketball, semi-finals, Australia v Scotland (Goulding, Walker, GC Convention Centre)
2.40pm men’s 4x100m relay final (Hale, Carrara Stadium)
2.35pm javelin final (Peacock, Carrara Stadium)
7.02pm Hockey, final (Edwards, Ockenden, GC Hockey Centre)