The Commonwealth Games came to an end on the Gold Coast last night as the flag was officially passed to Birmingham, the hosts in 2022.
On the face of it, it looked like a backward step for most of the home nations with Wales and Northern Ireland being the only ones to equal their medal hauls from four years ago in Glasgow.
The Welsh equalled their previous tally of 36 and also doubled their gold tally going from five to 10, making it their best-ever Commonwealth Games to date.
The Irish achieved the same amount of medals they did at the last games (12) but only won one gold medal this time whereas last time they won two. However it was among their top three performances in the competition since 1994.
For England and Scotland it was a rather disappointing sight with the former’s medal haul falling by 38 medals and the latter’s decreasing by 17 from 2014.
England won 16.2% of the medals available, only delivering a lower percentage at Melbourne in 2006 where they achieved only 15%.
Scotland, despite being down on their medal tally from four years ago, did win 5.2% of the medals available to them which was their best since 1982
Who were the standout performers from the home nations, despite their seemingly being a lack of progression?
Nile Wilson – Gymnast – The man from Leeds won a total of five medals at the games, including four golds and one silver and was the shining light of the English gymnastics squad.
His compatriot James Hall also had a fantastic games finishing with three medals, with one gold in the men’s team final and two silvers which he won by finishing runner-up to Wilson on both occasions.
Jack Laugher – Diver – In what was a mixed games for Tom Daley, who picked up gold in the 10m synchronised diving with Daniel Goodfellow only to then be unable to defend his individual title, but his compatriot Laugher starred.
The 23-year-old secured three gold medals in all the events he entered, including taking the victory alongside teammate Chris Mears in the 3m synchronised final.
England Women Netball team – Coach Tracey Neville showed footballing brothers Gary and Phil Neville how it’s done as her squad produced the team performance of the whole games for many. They stunned the onlooking spectators, as a late comeback in the final saw them overhaul the overwhelming favourites Australia to take gold. They secured a 52-51 victory after Helen Housby’s last-second winner, Gloucestershire-based Jodie Gibson was also part of the squad that took gold.
Gareth Evans – Weightlifter – Evans got the Welsh team’s successful games underway winning their first gold on the second day of competition. He took the victory in the -69kg category lifting a sum total of 299 kg. Evans was rewarded for his successes by carrying the flag for his nation at the closing ceremony last night.
Alys Thomas – Swimmer – The 28-year-old took gold in the 200m butterfly after clocking a very unexpected games record time. It was perhaps one of the surprises of the games with many of the swimming pundits, calling it their highlight of the meet. The swimmer made a point of suggesting to all other athletes it doesn’t matter how old you get, if you keep trying hard enough, the times and performances will come and she proved that.
Swim of the week… @alys_thomas wins 200m butterfly with 2 second pb…. a story of having a dream… committing to it and never giving up… look forward to following your journey to #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/amRklIXIaK
— Mark Foster (@MarkFosterSwim) April 11, 2018
Duncan Scott – Swimmer – The Scotsman won six medals, a larger haul than any fellow countryman at a single Commonwealth Games.
He won the hotly-contested 100m freestyle ahead of Australian favourite Kyle Charmers. It was a brilliant games for the youngster which means he now has a total of seven Commonwealth medals, after his silver in the 400m medley relay in 2014. Scott then went on to be the flag bearer at the closing ceremony, like Evans did for Wales.
Grace Reid – Diver – Reid picked up the gold medal in the 1m Springboard final to become the first-ever Scottish female diver to deliver a medal at a Commonwealth Games. She brought Scotland’s medal tally to 40 when she won the event and it was a fine achievement for the 22-year-old who made her games debut at the age of 14 in New Delhi.
Rhys McClenaghan – Gymnast – McClenaghan was the success of the games for Ireland, taking their only gold medal in the pommel horse final with a flawless routine.
It was one of shocks of the games as his victory relegated the olympic champion in the event Max Whitlock to silver. It was the first time he’d ever completed the 15.1 difficulty routine under the glare of competition – and what a time to do it.
COMMONWEALTH GAMES CHAMPION on Pommel Horse!!!! Thank you for all the support! Coming for that World title next Max… pic.twitter.com/aFg6WhXlXF
— Rhys Mcclenaghan (@McClenaghanRhys) April 8, 2018
It was a mixed bag overall for the home nations but there were some brilliant performances none the less, but Wales for sure will fly out of the Gold Coast the happiest.
After an enthralling games, Birmingham is the next stop in 2022 where England will no doubt look to best the Australians on home soil, like they did in Glasgow 2014.