Tasmanian-born athletes claimed a final tally of 10 gold medals in 10 events at the Commonwealth Games after Chris Goulding and Lucas Walker helped the Boomers win the men’s basketball final.
The total Tasmanian medal haul from the Gold Coast of 16, which included two team gold medals (which just counts as one to the medal tally) and four individual silvers, dwarves the state’s previous best of seven set at the last home Games in Melbourne in 2006.
The Launceston-born basketballers provided a fitting finale for their state and nation on the final day of the Games as Australia downed Canada 87-47 at a rocking Gold Coast Convention Centre.
Goulding nailed a three-pointer to open the scoring and never looked back. He made an identical start to the second half and finished with a game-high 11 points.
Walker came on for a second half cameo but even got to showoff his muscles as he celebrated joining the points scorers.
The result competed a superb fortnight for Goulding after the 27-year-old shooting guard captained Melbourne United to the NBL title last week.
“I don’t really have a ladder of where things rank but I’ve had a big few weeks and I’m really happy,” he said.
“I didn’t let my focus shift too much from the NBL, celebrated that for a day or so, switched into green and gold mode and am going to enjoy celebrating this one now.”
Despite comfortably defeating Canada in the group stages, Andrej Lemanis’ team were taking nothing for granted in the final.
“We wanted to come out and show them the utmost respect and give them our A-game because there was every danger if we disrespected them we could have got our backsides kicked and we didn’t want that to happen,” Goulding said.
“We wanted to have a crack at this tournament, have got our hands on gold and it’s great reward for effort.
“This is practising success. Any time we can win something we will. To add another medal to the collection is impressive.”
Meanwhile 33-year-old 2-metre forward Walker said he was “ecstatic” to get a late call-up to the team.
“You do everything right and prepare and you never know what can happen. I was very fortunate to get this chance but couldn’t be more excited,” he said.
“This is the best moment of my career, hands-down. Representing your country and winning a gold medal is untouchable.
“We did everything we said we were going to do defensively and offensively, stuck to the game plan and took care of business and it’s an unbelievable feeling.
“This is a dream come true getting towards the end of your career to get to do something like this is so special and something I’ll never forget and to do it with a bunch of teammates that are really good friends off the court adds that extra bit of excitement. We’ll go and celebrate and have memories that are going to last forever.
The Boomers teammates and Gold Coast roommates were both born in Launceston and went to West Launceston Primary School before leaving the state to pursue basketball careers on the mainland and in the US and were part of the last two NBL championships
Goulding, who left Tasmania aged eight when his family moved to the mainland, had helped Australia to fourth place at the Rio Olympics.
Walker moved to Canberra in 2003 to attend the Australian Institute of Sport.
Regaining the title they last won on home soil in 2006, the Boomers defeated Canada, New Zealand and Nigeria in the group stages in Cairns before the competition headed south and they dispatched Scotland in Saturday’s semi-final.
In addition to Walker and Goulding’s medals, Hobart hockey players Eddie Ockenden and Jeremy Edwards helped the Kookaburras win their sixth consecutive Commonwealth Games gold late on Saturday night to join Launceston freestyle swimmer Ariarne Titmus (three gold, one silver), Launceston lawn bowler Rebecca Van Asch (two gold), West Pine track cyclist Amy Cure (two gold), Launceston triathlete Jake Birtwhistle (one gold, one silver) and Hobart weightlifter Kaity Fassina and javelin thrower Hamish Peacock (both silver) as Tasmanian medal winners.
After receiving their gold medals, Ockenden and Edwards paid tribute to the Kookaburras retiring captain Mark Knowles.
“I played all my career with him, he was even my junior captain and is a very close friend of mine and my family so it’s been awesome to play with him,” Ockenden said.
“I love having him on the field. When you see him next to you, you really feel confident not just for the leader he is but the player he is because he’s been sensational for 15 years.”
Edwards added: “He’s a very calming figure at the back. There’s a lot of pressure moments in games and he just puts you at ease with the way he talks and the manner he plays. It’s a shame he has to retire but what a way to go out in front of his home crowd.”
THE STORY SO FAR
Ariarne Titmus: 200m freestyle, heat 1st, final SILVER; 4x200m freestyle relay GOLD; 800m freestyle, heat 1st, final GOLD; 400m freestyle, heat 1st, final GOLD
Jake Birtwhistle: men’s triathlon, SILVER; mixed teams relay GOLD
Amy Cure: women’s team pursuit, qualifying 1st, final GOLD; women’s points race, 7th; women’s scratch race GOLD
Georgia Baker: women’s points race, 21st
Rebecca Van Asch: bowls, women’s fours, d Papua New Guinea 41-1, d Cook Islands 15-9, d Namibia 23-9, d Malaysia 14-13, quarter-final d Malaysia 14-12, semi-final d Canada 10-9, final d South Africa 18-16 GOLD; women’s triples, d Papua New Guinea 32-12, d India 20-11, d Canada 20-13, d Fiji 24-9, quarter-final d Northern Ireland 30-5, semi-final d England 16-13, final d Scotland 21-12 GOLD
Chris Goulding, Lucas Walker: men’s basketball, d Canada 95-55, d New Zealand 79-73, d Nigeria 97-55, semi-final d Scotland 103-46, d Canada 87-47 GOLD (x2)
Eddie Ockenden, Jeremy Edwards: men’s hockey, d South Africa 4-0, d Scotland 6-1, d Canada 4-0, d New Zealand 2-1, semi-final d England 2-1, final d New Zealand 2-0 GOLD (x2)
Huw Peacock: men’s hammer, 11th
Stewart McSweyn: men’s 5000m, 5th; 10,000m, 11th
Kaity Fassina: women’s 90kg weightlifting, SILVER
Sam Walker: men’s T38 100m, 6th
Danielle McConnell: women’s hammer, 8th
Hamish Peacock: men’s javelin, qualification 1st, final SILVER
Jack Hale: 4x100m relay, heat 2nd, final 4th