Sport

Canberra takes aim at Commonwealth Games medals

At least 30 Canberrans will be part of the 400-plus Australian team that will march out in the opening ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games early on Thursday morning.

For Kelsey-Lee Roberts, the Games are the first step on her road to being a genuine contender on the world stage for javelin.

Canberran and Commonwealth Games javelin competitor Kelsey-Lee Roberts.
Canberran and Commonwealth Games javelin competitor Kelsey-Lee Roberts. Photo: Jay Cronan

Having only taken up the sport as a 17-year-old, Glasgow will be Roberts’ first international competition. Until last year, the 22-year-old was juggling athletics with playing netball in the Canberra state league. 

“I was trying to do both and couldn’t decide which one to pursue,” she said. “I was better suited to javelin in terms of my height and my athleticism, and it gave me a real opportunity to push the world standard.

“[This] is a huge stepping stone for me."

While Roberts will be among a number of competitors experiencing the atmosphere of an athletes' village for the first time, there are plenty of seasoned competitors and some hot favourites to bring medals home to the capital.

The hockey teams are favourites to return with gold after claiming the gold and silver medals respectively in the recent world championships.

Goalkeeper Andrew Charter is the lone Canberra representative in the Kookaburras after Glenn Turner was left out of the squad, but the Hockeyroos boast Anna Flanagan, who has become an integral part of the team since winning gold with the team in Delhi in 2010, as well as debutantes Edwina Bone and the Crookwell duo of Emily Smith and Kellie White.

Swimmer Alicia Coutts will return to the Commonwealth Games as the reigning champion in five events, while her training mate Ben Treffers will make his Australian team debut as the national record holder in the 50-metre backstroke.

In the athletics, which starts next week, Olympians Marty Dent, Lauren Wells (nee Boden) and Melissa Breen will be among the runners representing the capital.

Breen finished fifth in the 100 metres in Delhi, but will be looking to improve on that result after becoming the fastest woman in Australian history when she broke Melinda Gainsford-Taylor’s 20-year-old record in February.

Wells will also be looking to go a step better, having just missed a medal in the 400-metres hurdles in Delhi with her fourth-place finish, and Dent came sixth in the marathon in 2010.

Cyclists Nathan Haas, Chloe Hosking and Gracie Elvin are medal chances in the men’s and women’s road races, while track cyclist Nathan Hart is in the fancied team sprint, and Thomas Clarke will contest the tandem para-cycling category.

Canberra is also represented in the rugby sevens by Tom Cusack and lawn bowls by 24-year-old Kelsey Cottrell, who is a favourite to win a medal to go with her bronze from 2010, competing in the singles and triples events.

Duke Didier, son of former Wallabies forward Geoff, will make his Commonwealth Games debut in judo's 100-kilogram division.