Australia claims more gold at AYOF
By Eoin Blackwell
21:30 AEST Sat Jan 17 2009

Australian competitors overcame fatigue and tough competition to rake in the gold medals in athletics and swimming during the fourth day of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF).

Australia's men and women won all athletics events except the men's 200m, the women's hammer throw, discus and the 3000m and 5000m walk at Sydney Olympic Park.

Victorian hammer thrower Damien Birkenhead

threw 19.22m for a new AYOF record to qualify for the World Youth Championships to be held in Italy next year.

"It was a big personal best ... so I am really happy with it," he said.

Queensland's Mitchell Felsman claimed the gold medal his second running of the 100m after the event suffered a timing mishap on Friday's first attempt.

The 16-year-old bolted through a -2.8 head wind on Saturday, clocking 11.13 seconds to win, having also been first across the line the previous night.

"I was a bit annoyed (on Friday). I won, I was pretty happy with that," he said.

Oceania team member Banuve Tabakaucoro was second at 11.27s followed by Mitchell Tysoe of NSW (11.47).

In swimming, Phillip Butcher and Katie Goldman won the 100m butterfly and 400m freestyle respectively after slow qualifying efforts.

Butcher, who finished fourth in the morning heats, cruised to victory at 55.61sec, 0.31 of a second ahead of Japan's Yusuke Yasue and Luke Stirton.

"I thought it was going to be a fast race ... especially with the atmosphere at the finals, it's cheering me on," Butcher said.

Goldman shaved 5.07sec off her heat time in the fly, heading an Australian sweep that included Jessica Ashwood and Kelly Marquenie.

"I was really happy with that. It was a big two-second (personal best)," Goldman said.

"I'm starting to feel a bit tired, but the atmosphere and the team really helps you get through."

After much success in the pool and on the track, Australia's young women's basketball team proved they were unstoppable on court.

The Aussies overpowered Japan to claim gold with a 91-54 win and finish the tournament undefeated.

Starting guard Rebecca Cole made 17 points, six rebounds and five assists to steer Australia to their 37-point victory, while crowd favourite Gretel Tippett finish with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Elsewhere, South Australian Alexandra Freeman claimed the home team's first gymnastics gold medal with victory in the women's trampolining.

The Australian men's and women's hockey teams will compete in the gold medal matches of the AYOF on Sunday after both teams defeated Great Britain.

The men secured their place in the final with a c 3-2 win and will next face India, while the women will play Great Britain again, full of confidence from their 4-2 win on Saturday.

The AYOF concludes on Sunday.

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