The Roar
The Roar


Comm Games Daily: Furious Chalmers reacts to love triangle 'crap', marathoner's emotional gold, McKeon closes on history

Jessica Stenson of Australia takes selfies with spectators after winning the gold medal during the Women's Marathon at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
30th July, 2022
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Swim star Kyle Chalmers was left angered by questions about his relationship with team member Emma McKeon after he claimed a gold medal in Birmingham.

Chalmers swam the anchor leg to help Australia to win gold in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay on Sunday morning (AEST), alongside William Yang, Zac Incerti and Flynn Southam.

The post-race press conference was shut down early after Chalmers was pressed on what the media has dubbed a “love triangle”. Chalmers dated McKeon for a few months, but McKeon is now in a relationship with another team member – Cody Simpson.

Chalmers called the focus on the situation “crap” and said he was suffering mental health issues and would consider leaving the sort if the media continued to focus on his relationships.

Chalmers said it had been an “honour” to race alongside McKeon as they won the first-ever Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 4x100m mixed relay.

“No matter what I seem to do these days the media just wants to jump on board when I’ve done nothing but give my all to this country,” Chalmers said.

“I stand and talk to you guys after every single race. There’s definitely going to be a time when I stop doing that, if that is going to be the case.


“For me, I really sat down after trials and thought am I really going to continue on in this sport because, for me, I have given everything to this country. I’ve done everything for my sport. I was so proud of myself at trials, winning my 10th national title… and instead of focusing on the positives, you guys want to focus on the negatives again.

“The truth is I won’t be around for ever and you can enjoy it while you can. You can try and bring me down all you want, but there will come a time when I will stop talking to the media.”

His press conference was cut short by a Swimming Australia media official as the line of questioning continued despite requests for questions to be directed to Chalmers’ teammate Yang.

Chalmers appeared to single out a reporter when he complained about the stories that have emerged in recent weeks.

“It’s not actually true. It’s false news,” he said.

“I can stand here and say everything positively now, but you’re probably going to go home and be a keyboard warrior.”

Aussie’s inspiration for marathon gold


Jessica Stenson has drawn inspiration from her son Billy, the late Kerryn McCann and Australia’s proud marathoning tradition to win a history-making gold medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The 34-year-old, who returned to the sport after the birth of her first child in 2019, dropped off all challengers one by one on the way to a famous victory.

She crossed the line beaming with joy in a time of two hours 27 minutes 31 seconds, with Kenyan Margaret Muriuki 29 seconds adrift in second place.

It made Stenson the first female marathoner to win three Commonwealth medals, following on from bronzes in 2014 and 2018 under her maiden name of Jessica Trengove.

Australian women have now won six of the 10 Commonwealth marathons.

Stenson’s triumph was the first for Australia since McCann secured the second of her two successive golds in 2006, before passing away two years later, aged 41, after a battle with cancer.


“I was thinking of Kerryn out there,” Stenson told reporters.

“In 2014 my coach organised a few athletes, Steve Moneghetti, Rob de Castella, Lisa Ondieki, some of our greats, to write in a book.

“I read their messages last night.

“I thought about Kerryn’s closing kilometres in that battle against the Kenyan woman as she entered the MCG (to win the 2006 Commonwealth title).

“All of that history really turns into strength that we can use to try and continue that history.

“I so badly wanted to do Australia and my support team proud today.”

As she was covered in sweat, young Billy initially wasn’t too keen on giving his mum a hug after she crossed the finish line.


But he still paid an important role in the victory, along with husband Dylan and other members of Stenson’s inner circle.

“I’m a more relaxed runner as a mother; I can just enjoy the process a bit more,” said Stenson, who prepared for the Commonwealth marathon with a stint of altitude training in Switzerland with her family.

“I really wasn’t thinking about the outcome today; I was just trying to tick off each 5K and that ‘s what you do as a mum.

“You can’t think too far ahead.

“It’s just one moment at a time and you can’t control it.

“You just have to respond to what is happening and I think that gives women a lot of strength as parents.”

Countrywomen Eloise Wellings and Sinead Diver hung tough to finish fourth and fifth respectively, with the minor medals going to Muriuki and defending champ Helalia Johannes from Namibia.


Wellings – competing at her fifth successive Games – and Diver – at 45 the oldest person in the track and field program in Birmingham – are both also mothers.

Earlier on Saturday, wheelchair racing star Madison de Rozario triumphed in the women’s T53/54 race, adding to her glittering array of golds.

De Rozario clocked a winning time of 1:56:00 and is favoured to complete the T53/54 marathon/1500m double for a second straight Commonwealth Games.

In the able-bodied men’s race, Liam Adams was unlucky not to be rewarded with a podium place after a brave display of front-running.

The electrician from Melbourne led for the first 25 kilometres before eventually crossing in fourth spot in 2:13:23.

Victor Kiplangat won Uganda’s first Commonwealth marathon title in 2:10:55.


Johnboy Smith won the men’s T53/54 marathon title in 1:41:15 after fellow Englishman David Weir’s gold-medal bid was scuppered by a mid-race puncture while he was leading.

Australian Jake Lappin was fifth in 1:56:21.

McKeon one gold from history

Australia’s swim ace Emma McKeon is on the cusp of becoming the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history after winning an equal record 10th to join three Aussie swim legends at the mark.

McKeon was part of Australia’s victorious 4x100m freestyle relay team in Birmingham and goes alongside Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones with 10 career Commonwealth golds. No athlete from any country in any sport has won more.

“It is special – they’re people that I looked up to growing up and the Commonwealth Games has so much history in Australia,” McKeon said.


“They’re the ones that inspired me and a lot of the other girls and guys on the team to do what we’re doing now.

“To be a part of that history hopefully for the future generations coming through is pretty special.

“I know what I felt like growing up and watching those people and hopefully I can inspire people as well.” 

McKeon’s feat came after Australian para-swimmer Katja Dedekind set a world record in winning the women’s 50m freestyle S13 gold medal on Saturday night.

“That’s icing on the cake,” Dedekind said of the fresh benchmark.

Dedekind, who is blind in her right eye and has limited vision in her left, clocked 26.56 seconds to better the 26.67 set by Italian Carlotta Gilli in 2018.

And Australia’s men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team – Flynn Southam, Zac Incerti, William Yang and Kyle Chalmers – also won gold.


McKeon also pocketed a silver medal in the women’s 100m butterfly and Brendon Smith took silver in the men’s 400m individual medley.

And six Australians won bronze medals on Saturday night – Chelsea Hodges (women’s 50m breaststroke), Elijah Winnington (men’s 200m freestyle), Bradley Woodward (men’s 100m backstroke), Brianna Throssell (women’s 100m butterfly), Jacob Templeton (men’s 50m freestyle S13) and Kirralee Hayes (women’s 50m freestyle S13).

The Australian swim team has a collection of six gold, five silver and nine bronze medals at the Birmingham pool.

A night after winning the 400m freestyle final, Winnington was wedged between England’s Olympic champion Tom Dean and Scotland’s Olympic silver medallist Duncan Scot.

Scot won the gold this time as Winnington rated his bronze swim “in some respects” better than his 400m race.

“Tom and Duncan are first and second at the Olympic Games, you can’t get two better freestylers in the world let alone the Commonwealth, so I was in great company,” Winnington said.

Three Australians were fastest in the women’s 50m freestyle semi-finals with Shayna Jack followed by Meg Harris and McKeon.


And Australian trio Zac Stubblety-Cook, Sam Williamson and Josh Yong all advanced into the men’s 100m breaststroke final.

Team talk

The Aussie women’s sevens team will play for gold on Monday morning after surprising New Zealand in the semi, while the men are into the semis against South Africa. CLICK HERE FOR A FULL WRAP.

The Australian netball team won their second straight game, beating Scotland 83-30.

The Diamonds were challenged more in this game than they were against Barbados (95-18), as coach Stacey Marinkovich made 12 changes to the team.

(With AAP)