GOLD COAST: Australian flyweight Taylah Robertson won boxing bronze on Friday at the Commonwealth Games — despite losing her one and only bout.
In a bizarre turn of events, the 19-year-old home hope was given a bye in the seven-woman competition by the computer-generated draw, propelling her straight into the semi-finals.
That meant a certain bronze, even though she was beaten on a split-points decision by former skull-fracture victim Lisa Whiteside of England.
With the bout over three rounds, each three minutes long, Robertson’s Games lasted just nine minutes.
Whiteside, 32, who suffered a serious fracture in a freak fall in 2015, will face Carly McNaul of Northern Ireland in Saturday’s final.
A disconsolate Robertson said she took no satisfaction from winning bronze and felt she did enough to beat Whiteside, who was the aggressor throughout.
“She came forward strong, I didn’t think she landed the cleaner shots,” said Robertson.
Asked if it felt an unsatisfying bronze, she replied: “Yeah, it does. I came here for gold.”
She also pulled no punches when asked if she could take anything out of her nine-minute cameo at the Games on Australia’s Gold Coast?
“No, nothing,” she answered. “I didn’t come here for bronze.”
There was better news for another Australian female boxer as Anja Stridsman reached Saturday’s lightweight final to guarantee at least silver after what she called “a tumultuous journey”.
The 31-year-old, who will face England’s Paige Murney in the gold medal match, revealed afterwards that there were times she never expected to make the Games after suffering a serious knee injury.
Sweden-born Stridsman tore an anterior cruciate ligament last September, very nearly torpedoing her hopes.
She made the brave decision to fight in the qualifiers before reconstructing the ligament, which helps stabilise the knee joint.
“We asked the surgeon if he thought that was possible,” said Stridsman. “And he said, ‘You know what? If it was anyone else I’d say no. But you seem like you’re going to be able to do what you need to do.'”
Having miraculously qualified despite her injury, she went in for surgery, then faced a race to get fit for the Games.
But she was not able to begin sparring until March, just weeks before the Games began, severely impacting her preparation.
“I did get a bit emotional at times and a bit devastated, thinking, ‘What if they replace me?'” she said.
“But I did my part and think I’ve proved that by coming here and winning these fights.”