Mark Dry claimed Team Scotland’s first Athletics medal of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games as he repeated his bronze medal winning performance from Glasgow 2014 with a phenomenal last round throw.
With the Men’s Hammer the first track and field event of the Games, the Carrara Stadium was packed and the crowd were treated to what will undoubtedly be one of the events of the Games. It was a cagey start all round, with eventual gold and silver medallists Nick Miller and Matty Denny having to pull it out of the bag in round three just to make the cut.
Dry however grew in confidence as the competition unfolded, opening with 69.00m to make sure he would get the full six throws. In the fourth round he improved to 70.78m, and despite still sitting outside the medals the man from Burghead was starting to believe.
It was here that the magic started to happen, Englishman Nick Miller breaking the British and Commonwealth Games record with an unbelievable 80.26m effort. Dry was still out of the medals despite a further improvement to 71.34m in the fifth round, so it would all hinge on his final throw.
A seasoned championship performer, Dry stepped up when it mattered most, launching the hammer out to 73.12m, his best throw for two years to win bronze.
Dry has had hip surgery twice in the past couple of years and was on crutches as recently as December, but that last round throw had him leaping around in ecstasy. Dry memorably wore his kilt to the medal ceremony after bronze at Hampden and he had the Team Scotland Gold Coast tartan attire back on over his shorts when he stepped onto the podium today.
“I can’t believe what’s just happened – that was the best competition of my life! Every round I just built and built and built. The fifth round was good but it was just short of the medals so I knew the last round would take something special. I was going to leave it all out there and I did it!
“It’s been a long career and I’ve never been the most talented, but I’m a fighter. Getting bronze in Glasgow was a massive high, especially given there was huge pressure and then since the Olympics in 2016 I’ve had two hip surgeries. That’s the furthest I’ve thrown by far since coming back from the surgeries; I just can’t believe I’ve managed to pull it off – it’s a dream come true.”
Chris Bennett had come into the event in strong form, with wins in two warm-up competitions in Australia, throwing over 74m. But, as it transpired, his first throw of 65.22m was the best of his three and that would prove insufficient to make the cut for the top eight athletes.
The other Scot in action on the opening afternoon was Amy Carr, who finished seventh in the F38 Long Jump with a best leap of 3.65m. Carr, who is an F37 athlete, was competing up a class and commented: “That was such an amazing experience to be here and jump in that competition. It didn’t quite go as I hoped in terms of the jumps and the sequence but to compete against athletes from around the world is something I will learn from. Team Scotland have been brilliant to me and I have enjoyed it so much I don’t want to go home!”
Tomorrow will see a number of athletes in action in qualifying rounds, whilst Beth Potter will make history when she goes in the Women’s 10,000m final at 20:35hrs (11:35hrs UK time), becoming the first athlete to compete in two different sports at a single Games.