If that wasn’t the best night ever of SKAAC athletics, then consider yourself challenged to find a better night for the club!
3rd, 5th & 7th for Luke Mathews, Brad Mathas and Joseph Deng has stamped SKAAC as a leading club in the Commonwealth for middle distance running.
Luke Mathews in securing a famous Bronze medal, becomes SKAAC’s first ever international Track & Field medalist in a race that is sure to transcend the generations. Running on pace from the gun with Botswana’s Nijel Amos, Luke was set to launch with 250 to go, however the Kenyans had other ideas, quickly breaking the race open with a burst that would prove pivotal. Luke, 6th with 75m to run, found something that so few athletes have been able to find when all seems lost. Was it the home crowd, was it the expert coaching of Luke’s mum Liz, was it the entire St. Kevin’s community willing him home, was it Luke’s family and mates in the crowd or was it Luke’s super competitive race sense? In this scribes view, I think in 1:45.60 we saw all of these traits in spades as Luke stormed home, when all looked lost for a famous Bronze medal.
Brad Mathas ran out of his skin at these Commonwealth Games. Running two PB’s in 3 days at an International meet of the Commonwealth games 800m standard is a huge achievement and a great testament to the sacrifices that Brad has made in the last 18 months in moving to Australia from Christchurch, to join SKAAC’s legendary coach Justin Rinaldi paying huge dividends that the athletics world now knows about. A 1:46.32 Heat run and a 5th place in a major International Final in a PB time of 1:46.07 are just reward for Brad, his family and partner Kelsey Berryman, also an elite athlete in her own right.
What more can be said of 19 year-old Joseph Deng? Well plenty. Making similar sacrifices to Brad, in moving from Brisbane nearly straight out of finishing Year 12 at Ipswich Grammar, Joseph announced himself at the 2018 National Championships winning the B-Final in a leading time of 1:45.71 and not without controversey, was selected to run for his country. Justifying selectors faith, he produced a huge effort in his Heat to be a mere 0.01 seconds outside his PB to make the final. He’s made of stern stuff, Joseph. With an quad injury sustained in late March very far from the ideal preparation for your Games debut, we heard no excuses, we just saw action on the track, just the way we like it at SKAAC. To hear during the Channel 7 coverage, Lord Sebastian Coe laud Joseph as a most exciting prospect was quite remarkable to hear from the IAAF President.
What a night of Australian athletics we had the priviledge to witness, especially when the night contained such a large contingent of SKAAC Legends. A huge congratulations to Luke, Brad & Joseph for all the joy they have provided us this week. Well Done lads.