Rose gold Aussies revel in bronze as wrestler Jayden Lawrence fights for survival at the Commonwealth Games

The Boomers made bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics fashionable with their historic medal, dubbed “rose gold” in men’s basketball.

And at the Commonwealth Games, the rose gold glow is real.

By Australian standards, it was a long wait for a wrestling medal of any color – 12 years.

Jayden Lawrence appeared in two previous games and missed out on a bronze medal in Glasgow 2014.

Two wrestlers, one in blue and one in red, compete on a yellow mat
Lawrence competed in the men’s freestyle wrestling 74kg at the 2014 Glasgow Games but narrowly missed out on medals.(Getty Images: Richard Heathcote)

He secured another bronze opportunity, this time against South Africa’s Edward Lessing, in the 86kg men’s freestyle, and he won a close match 12-11.

“Incredible, honestly. I’m excited,” he said.

“That’s what Australian wrestling was like after the previous two where we didn’t win a medal at all at the games.

“But I guarantee you, this time we’ll get more. I guarantee it.”

Lawrence suffered a cruciate ligament tear in his last match, “so the last two wrestles I fought with [on] one and a half legs,” he said.

The 27-year-old from Sydney collapsed on his back with his hands covering his face as he soaked the moment at the end of the clash.

“I gave up a lot to do this sport but it’s so worth it,” he said.

“We don’t get paid too much, I get nothing. But I will do it again.”

At this point, wrestling is not on the Victoria 2026 Games schedule and Lawrence is hoping its success will force a rethink.

“Hopefully that gets us over the line and we get wrestling back.”

Bronze for new diver duo

In the jumping, Sam Fricker gushed after taking bronze with Li Shixin in the men’s synchronized 3m springboard.

“I’m so excited, it was a dream to take home a medal at the Commonwealth Games, it’s just amazing,” said Fricker.

20-year-old Fricker and 34-year-old former Chinese world champion Li, who has represented Australia since 2019, competed together internationally for the first time.

Two male divers jump off a diving board at an event
Li (right) came out of retirement to compete in Tokyo after becoming an Australian citizen.(Getty Images: PA Images/Tim Goode)

“This is the beginning. Sammy is young,” Li said.

“We have a long, long time. He is the future of Diving Australia. I’m just helping him get better.”

Li was recruited to Australia as a diving coach in 2014 – he gained citizenship in 2019 and came out of retirement to compete in the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Fricker said he was honored to compete alongside his legendary teammate and took some advice from one of the team’s veterans, Melissa Wu, to stay calm.

“You just have to be in the moment,” he said.

“If you have breakfast, have breakfast, if you are on the bus, enjoy the ride.

“If you have to make that one jump, that’s all you focus on and that’s all you have control over. So whether we’re first or last, that’s what we’re trying to achieve with this one moment.”

England’s Anthony Harding and Jack Laugher won gold, while the Australians finished just 2.25 points behind Malaysian silver medalists Gabriel Daim and Muhammad Syafiq Bin Puteh.

Australia picked up a couple more diving medals at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre, with Brittany O’Brien taking silver in the 1m springboard behind Canada’s Mia Vallee.

And Dom Bedgood and Cassiel Rousseau took bronze in the men’s synchronized 10m, with gold going to England and silver to Canada.

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