Furious Chalmers reacts to love triangle ‘crap’, marathon runner’s emotional gold, McKeon closes story

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Swimming star Kyle Chalmers has been angered by questions about his relationship with team member Emma McKeon after winning gold in Birmingham.

Chalmers swam the anchor leg to help Australia 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 closed early after Chalmers was pressed on what the media 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 “shitty” and said he suffered from mental health issues and would consider quitting the genre if the media continued to focus on his relationships.

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

“No matter what I look like I’m doing these days, the media just wants to get on board when I’ve done nothing but give my all to this country,” Chalmers said.

“I get up and talk to you after every race. There will definitely be a time when I’ll stop doing this, if that’s the case.

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

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

His press conference was cut short by a Swimming Australia media officer as the round of questioning continued despite requests for questions from Chalmers’ teammate Yang.

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

“That’s not really true. This is fake 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.”

Australia’s inspiration for marathon gold

Jessica Stenson was inspired by her son Billy, the late Kerryn McCann and Australia’s proud marathon tradition to win a historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

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

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

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

Australian women have now won six of 10 Commonwealth marathons.

Stenson’s triumph was the first for Australia since McCann won the second of their two successive gold medals in 2006, before passing away two years later, aged 41, after a battle against the cancer.

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

“In 2014 my coach organized 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 last few miles in that battle against the Kenyan as she entered the MCG (to win the Commonwealth title in 2006).

“This whole story really turns into a strength that we can use to try to continue this story.

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

As she was covered in sweat, young Billy didn’t really want to hug her mother after crossing the finish line.

But he still played an important role in the victory, alongside her 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 little more,” said Stenson, who prepared for the Commonwealth Marathon with an altitude training stint in Switzerland with her family.

“I really wasn’t thinking about today’s result; I was just trying to tick off every 5K and that’s what you do as a mom.

“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 react to what’s happening and I think that gives a lot of strength to women as parents.”

Compatriots Eloise Wellings and Sinead Diver held on to finish fourth and fifth respectively, with the minor medals going to Muriuki and defending champion Helalia Johannes of Namibia.

Wellings – competing in her fifth consecutive Games – and Diver – at 45, the oldest person in the athletics program at 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 sparkling gold medal tally.

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

In the able-bodied race, Liam Adams was unlucky not to be rewarded with a podium finish after a brave running display up front.

The Melbourne electrician led for the first 25 kilometers before finally crossing in fourth place 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 England’s David Weir’s gold medal bid was wiped out by a mid-race puncture while leading.

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

McKeon a gold medal in history

Australian swimming ace Emma McKeon is set to become the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history after claiming a record equal 10th to join three Australian swimming legends at the mark.

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

“It’s special – these are people I looked up to growing up and the Commonwealth Games have so much history in Australia,” McKeon said.

“They are the ones who inspired me and many other girls and guys on the team to do what we do now.

“To be a part of this history, hopefully for future generations, is pretty special.

“I know how I felt growing up and watching these people and I hope I can inspire people too.”

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

“It’s the icing on the cake,” Dedekind said of the new benchmark.

Dedekind, who is blind in his right eye and has limited vision in his left, clocked 26.56 seconds to beat the 26.67 set by Italy’s Carlotta Gilli in 2018.

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

McKeon also won silver in the women’s 100 butterfly and Brendon Smith won silver in the men’s 400 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 (50m freestyle men S13) and Kirralee Hayes (50m freestyle S13 women).

The Australian swimming team has a collection of six gold, five silver and nine bronze at Birmingham Pool.

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

Scot took the gold this time around as Winnington rated his bronze swimming “in some respects” better than his 400m run.

“Tom and Duncan are first and second in the Olympics, you can’t have two best freestylers in the world let alone the Commonwealth, so I was in great company,” Winnington said.

Three Australians were the 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 qualified for the men’s 100m breaststroke final.

Team chat

The Australian women’s sevens team will play for the gold medal on Monday morning after upsetting New Zealand in the semi-finals, while the men are in the semi-finals against South Africa. CLICK HERE FOR A FULL WRAP.

The Australian netball team won their second game in a row beating Scotland 83-30.

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

(With AAP)



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