Mixed results in field for New Zealand athletes
FRED WOODCOCK IN GLASGOW
Before the Commonwealth Games, the biggest crowd Auckland discus thrower Siositina Hakeai had competed in front of was about 1000 people at the world junior championships.
She was understandably "nervous as hell", throwing in today's women's discus final before a capacity crowd of 44,000 at Scotland's national stadium, Hampden Park, so she felt finishing fourth, less than a metre off her personal best, and gaining this experience would stand her in good stead.
While Hakeai launched her international career, a teary-eyed Sarah Cowley was unsure if she had jumped her last jump.
The 30-year-old was ninth in the women's high jump final and said she had plenty to contemplate after the initial disappointment died away.
But it wasn't all bad for the Kiwi field athletes this morning, with Hamilton javelin thrower Stuart Farquhar qualifying for tomorrow's final.
The silver medallist in Delhi four years ago, Farquhar required just one throw to qualify. His 78.54m effort easily bettered the 78m automatic qualifying mark.
Hakeai's best throw of the night, 58.67m, was 98cm shot of her personal best but it was a good, solid effort on an overwhelming night for the 20-year-old.
She was 1.81m off third-placed Jade Lally, of England, with Australian Dani Samuels (64.88m) first and Indian Seema Punia (61.61m) second.
There was some speculation Samuels might eclipse Kiwi Beatrice Faumuina's Games record but she fell short of the 65.92m mark, set at Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
"It wasn't what I wanted but it wasn't far from my PB, it's my first Commonwealth Games, I'm the youngest person in the field, I came fourth, I can't complain too much," Hakeai said.
"All I know is there's a lot more to come from me, and I'm going to take this as a learning process.
"I was nervous as hell. When I grabbed the discus, my hand was shaking. This was my first time competing in front of so many people."
She had taken on board some words of wisdom from her room-mate, shot put champion Val Adams, who had told her to not try too hard and just relax in front of the big crowd.
Hakeai was hoping to take a week off before returning to winter training. Her goal is to qualify for next year's world championships and of course the Rio Olympics in 2016.
"There's a lot more to come from me."
Cowley said she felt good in the high jump but lacked rhythm as she missed three times at 1.89m, which she had achieved earlier this season. Her personal best is 1.91m.
"I'm disappointed not to have gone over the 1.89m and give myself another chance," the London Olympic heptathlete said.
"There's no excuses. I did my best and my team prepared me well, it's just a shame I couldn't deliver.
"I thought I was capable of much more than what I cleared. I knew it would take a PB but I'm in PB shape."
Australian Eleanor Patterson cleared 1.94m to win gold from England's Isobel Pooley, who edged St Lucia's Levern Spencer for silver on countback after both women cleared 1.92m.
As for Cowley, she doesn't know what the future holds.
"It's time to reflect on this and, once I get over the disappointment, enjoy this campaign.
"I don't know if it's my last jump, or whatever, but all I know is that's it's really been a privilege."