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Australia’s athletics team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games; one of our worst?

Sally Pearson suffered a devastating injury which has forced her out of the Olympics (AFP/Olivier Morin).
Roar Guru
3rd August, 2014
33
1333 Reads

Recent Commonwealth Games athletics results (1998-2014) indicate to me that Australia’s performance continues to decline.

While England too found it hard to win gold medals in 2014 compared to past Commonwealth Games, table 1 indicates that Australia’s 2014 team won just nine medals (six gold) individual events, far below the 27 medals (10 gold) achieved in 1998.

Table 1: Total top 8 (T8) Individual Athletics finishes and medals (M) won (golds in brackets) Commonwealth Games 1998-2014.

98

98

02

02

06

06

10

10

14

14

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

Total

Aust

54

27(10)

47

21(5)

67

25(9)

36

11(6)

41

9(6)

Eng

74

26(8)

80

22(10)

52

16(6)

62

18(3)

65

19(2)

T- Men

Aust

23

9(3)

20

7(1)

33

13(4)

22

7(4)

16

2(1)

Eng

39

13(5)

40

12(6)

24

6(3)

33

12(2)

28

7(2)

T-Women

Aust

31

18(7)

27

14(4)

34

12(5)

14

4(2)

25

7(5)

Eng

35

13(3)

40

10(4)

28

10(3)

29

6(1)

37

12(0)

In terms of running events, Australia’s 2014 team won just 3 medals (2 gold) compared to 10 medals (3 golds) in 1998.

Further, Australia had no male or female finalist in either the 100, 200m or 400m sprints, a feat perhaps unprecedented at the Commonwealth Games level.

Perhaps this explains why Australia’s relay teams performed so poorly time-wise  in 2014, amongst the slowest major championship times for many decades. The men’s 4x400m team ran 3:04.19, compared to the Australian record of 2:59.70 (1984). The women’s 4x400m team went 3:30.27, much slower than the Australian best of 3:23.81 (2000). The 1972 women’s 4x400m Olympic team ran 3:28.8.

Table 2: Total top 8 (T8) individual running finishes and medals (M) won (golds in brackets) Commonwealth Games 1998-2014.

1998

1998

2002

2002

2006

2006

2010

2010

2014

2014

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

100m

Aust m

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

Eng m

2

0

3

0

1

0

1

1

1

1

Aus w

3

1

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

Eng w

1

0

3

0

2

0

2

1

2

0

200m

Aust m

2

0

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Eng m

2

2(1)

1

0

0

0

2

1(1)

1

0

Aus w

3

2(1)

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Eng w

0

0

1

0

0

0

2

1

3

2

400m

Aust m

0

0

1

0

1

1(1)

3

1

0

0

Eng m

1

1

1

0

1

0

1

0

1

0

Aus w

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Eng w

1

1

0

0

1

1(1)

0

0

1

0

800m

Aust m

0

0

1

1

1

0

1

0

1

0

Eng m

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

Aus w

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Eng w

1

1

2

0

2

0

2

0

2

0

1500m

Aust m

0

0

1

1

2

1

1

0

1

0

Eng m

3

2

3

1(1)

1

0

2

0

1

0

Aus w

0

0

1

0

2

1

0

0

1

0

Eng w

1

1

2

2(1)

2

1(1)

2

0

2

1

5000m

Aust m

1

0

2

0

1

1

3

0

0

0

Eng m

3

0

2

0

0

0

1

0

2

0

Aus w

2

1(1)

1

0

2

0

1

0

2

0

Eng w

2

1

2

1(1)

1

1

1

0

2

1

10000m

Aust m

2

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Eng m

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

Aus w

2

2

1

1

2

0

1

0

0

0

Eng w

2

0

3

0

2

1

1

0

2

0

Marathon

Aust m

1

0

2

1

3

0

2

1

2

1(1)

Eng m

1

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

Aus w

2

2(1)

3

3(1)

3

1(1)

1

1

2

1

Eng w

2

0

3

0

1

1

2

0

1

0

110/100h

Aust m

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Eng m

2

1(1)

2

0

2

1

3

3(1)

2

1

Aus w

1

0

1

0

2

0

1

1(1)

3

1(1)

Eng w

1

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

1

400mH

Aust m

2

1

0

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

Eng m

0

0

3

1(1)

1

0

2

0

2

0

Aus w

0

0

2

1(1)

2

1(1)

1

0

1

0

Eng w

3

1

1

0

1

1

1

0

0

0

3000m St

Aust m

1

0

0

0

2

0

1

0

0

0

Eng m

2

0

2

0

1

0

2

0

2

0

Aus w

3

2

0

0

2

0

Eng w

2

0

2

0

2

0

Total

Aust

25

10(3)

21

10(2)

31

8(3)

20

4(1)

16

3(2)

Eng

32

11(2)

35

5(4)

24

8(2)

31

7(2)

31

7(0)

Total M

Aust

10

2(0)

9

4(0)

13

3(1)

14

2(0)

5

1(1)

Eng

18

6(2)

17

2(2)

9

2(0)

16

5(2)

13

2

Total W

Aust

15

8(3)

12

6(2)

18

5(2)

6

2(1)

11

2(1)

Eng

14

5(0)

18

3(2)

15

6(2)

15

2(0)

18

5

1998

1998

2002

2002

2006

2006

2010

2010

2014

2014

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Australia’s field athletes did reasonably well, but they too have declined in terms of medals won. In 2014, Australia won six medals (four gold), well behind the 1998 result of 17 medals (seven gold).

Table 3: Total top 8 field (T8) and multi-event finishes, and medals (M) won (golds in brackets) Commonwealth Games 1998-2014.

1998

1998

2002

2002

2006

2006

2010

2010

2014

2014

Long

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

T8

M

Aust m

3

2(1)

0

0

3

1

2

1(1)

2

0

Eng m

2

0

2

1(1)

2

0

1

1

3

1(1)

Aus w

1

1

1

0

2

2(1)

0

0

1

0

Eng w

2

1(1)

1

1

1

0

0

0

2

1

High

Aust m

1

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

Eng m

3

2(1)

2

1

2

1

2

0

2

0

Aus w

2

1

1

0

2

0

0

0

2

1(1)

Eng w

3

1

3

1

1

0

3

0

1

1

Triple

Aust m

0

0

1

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

Eng m

3

1(1)

3

2(1)

1

1(1)

2

0

2

0

Aus w

NK

0

1

0

1

0

0

0

2

0

Eng w

3

2(1)

3

1(1)

2

1

2

0

3

1

Pole

Aust m

1

1

3

1

3

2(1)

1

1(1)

1

0

Eng m

3

0

2

0

2

0

2

2

2

2(1)

Aus w

3

1(1)

3

3(1)

3

2(1)

2

1(1)

3

1(1)

Eng w

1

0

2

1

1

0

2

1

2

1

Shot

Aust m

3

0

2

1(1)

2

1

1

1

1

0

Eng m

0

0

2

1

2

0

2

0

0

0

Aus w

3

2(1)

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Eng w

1

0

3

0

1

0

2

0

3

0

Discus

Aust m

0

0

0

0

2

1(1)

2

1(1)

1

0

Eng m

3

1(1)

3

1

1

0

3

1

1

0

Aus w

2

2

2

0

1

1

0

0

1

1(1)

Eng w

3

0

2

1

1

0

1

0

2

1

Javelin

Aust m

1

0

2

0

3

2

1

1(1)

3

1

Eng m

3

2

3

2(1)

1

1(1)

0

0

0

0

Aus w

1

1(1)

1

1

3

0

2

1

3

2(1)

Eng w

3

2

3

1

1

0

1

0

1

0

Hammer

Aust m

1

1(1)

1

0

1

1(1)

1

0

1

0

Eng m

3

1

3

2(1)

3

0

2

2

3

1

Aus w

3

1(1)

3

2

3

1(1)

3

0

1

0

Eng w

2

1

2

1(1)

2

1

1

1

2

1

Dec/Hep

Aust m

3

2(1)

1

1

3

1

0

0

1

0

Eng m

1

0

3

0

1

1(1)

3

1

2

1

Aus w

1

1

3

2(1)

1

1

0

0

1

0

Eng w

3

1(1)

3

0

3

2(1)

2

2(1)

3

1

Total

Aust

29

17(7)

26

11(3)

36

17(6)

16

7(5)

25

6(4)

Eng

42

15(6)

45

17(6)

28

8(4)

31

11(1)

34

12(2)

Total Men

Aust

13

7(3)

11

3(1)

20

10(3)

8

5(4)

11

1(0)

Eng

21

7(3)

23

10(4)

15

4(3)

17

7(0)

15

5(2)

Total Wom

Aust

16

10(4)

15

8(2)

16

7(3)

8

2(1)

14

5(4)

Eng

21

8(3)

22

7(2)

13

4(1)

14

4(1)

19

7(0)

1998

1998

2002

2002

2006

2006

2010

2010

2014

2014

Australia remains a Commonwealth Games superpower, but presently finds it that much harder to win medals in athletics, despite considerable public funds being allocated.

Let the arguments begin as to why Australia is in serious decline, and what to do. Solutions are not easy given that England has also experienced some decline in terms of medals won, despite substantial funding and perhaps a greater interest by Brits in the sport.

Or should we just enjoy the athletics and celebrate a greater diversity of results?