Summer Paralympic medallist, Winter Paralympic medallist…now Jess Gallagher can add Commonwealth gold medallist to her resume after delivering Australia’s first gold medal in Birmingham.
Gallagher and pilot Caitlin Ward won Australia’s first gold medal of the Commonwealth Games with an emphatic victory and a stirring ride in the final of the women’s tandem B sprint.
The pair won in straight sets, claiming the first two of three races to secure the medal against a Scottish duo who refused to let the Australians do it the easy way.
Gallagher and Ward looked comfortable in the first race to secure the early advantage, but faced stiff opposition from Aileen McGlynn and Ellie Stone.
With one lap to go in the second race, the Scots looked to have done enough to force a decider after preventing the Australians from overtaking and forcing them to go the long way round.
However, Gallagher and Ward thundered home, overtaking their opponents on the home straight before crossing the line to open Australia’s gold medal account at these games.
Gallagher told 7Sport afterwards the final ride had been a nerve-wracking one, but the pair had dug deep to win the gold.
“We had the lane and they came down on us, and they pushed us to the line, and it was pretty sketchy. I thought we were going to hit wheels and come off, but I just knew that we had to power on and get around,” she said.
“So we backed off and then came around and put everything down.”
Gallagher was full of praise for Ward, and her pilot said Commonwealth gold was everything she had ever dreamed of.
“It’s been a really long journey with lots of ups and downs, and at the start of the pandemic, I had lost my scholarship, so I thought it was the end of the road for me,” Ward said.
“So this opportunity is just everything I could have imagined.”
Article originally appeared in The West Australian: https://thewest.com.au/sport/commonwealth-games/commonwealth-games-jessica-gallagher-and-caitlin-ward-claim-australias-first-gold-medal-in-birmingham-c-7692204