Perfect for Comm Games but Olympics a logistical step too far
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Perfect for Comm Games but Olympics a logistical step too far

The Commonwealth Games is the perfect platform to combine Para events with able-bodied ones, but Canberra gold medallist Cameron Crombie thinks the Paralympics and Olympics might be a logistical step too far.

Crombie blitzed his competitors to win gold in the men's F38 shot put on the Gold Coast on Wednesday, with all six of his efforts good enough to finish on top of the podium.

He was just thankful for the opportunity to compete at a home Games in one of six men's Para-athletic events on the program.

Canberra gold-medal-winner Cameron Crombie, right, thinks the Commonwealth Games is the perfect platform to combine the Para and able-bodied worlds.

Canberra gold-medal-winner Cameron Crombie, right, thinks the Commonwealth Games is the perfect platform to combine the Para and able-bodied worlds.

Crombie felt the Games was the perfect event to keep building the Para profile.

Across all sports, the Gold Coast has 36 Para medals on offer - the most in Commonwealth Games history and up from 22 at Glasgow.

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While Crombie's event made the cut, plenty of others didn't - Jayden Sawyer wasn't able to compete in the javelin - the sport he holds the world record in - so switched to the shot put to take on Crombie.

Given the magnitude of both the Paralympics and Olympics, Crombie thought that might be a step too far and they needed to remain separate at this stage.

"I think it's been fantastic. They've done it really well and the combination's been great," Crombie said.

"The inclusion of the two has gone really well and the crowds have been lapping it up and just exposed to something everyone seems to be enjoying.

"But whether that means it's best to run everything combined I'm not sure. The Olympics and the Paralympics are separate mostly for logistical reasons because they're so huge.

"We're heading in the right direction, but I think the Comm Games is big enough, but small enough to be combined at this stage and if we can keep progressing it then that's all positive."

Crombie's gold medal has made him a potential trivia question - which Canberra sporting couple both boast gold medals from separate home Commonwealth Games?

His partner Carly Wilson won gold with the Opals at the Melbourne Games in 2006.

The Canberra Capitals legend has since retired, but was in the crowd with her family to support Crombie.

He won't have any time off and will get straight back into training when he returns to Canberra, with next year's world championships a stepping stone towards the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Crombie said his gold medal, which added to the gold he won with a world record at last year's world championships, was yet to fully sink in - something he expected to happen when he had some time to reflect over the coming weeks.

"It was great to have her in the crowd, her family was here too ... we've both got a home Comm Games gold which is pretty cool," Crombie said.

"But having her in my camp is unbelievable. I couldn't ask for a more supportive person to be by my side and helping me along.

"Really thankful, really lucky that she could take some time to come up and enjoy it with me too."

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.

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