Wheelchair race star Madison de Rozario has relieved the pressure of a title defense to add another Commonwealth Games marathon gold to her already stellar resume.
There was a sense of inevitability about Saturday’s T53/54 marathon and, as it should be, De Rozario claimed the opening event of the 2022 athletics competition in one hour and 56 minutes.
De Rozario is preferred to complete the T53/54 marathon/1500m double for a second consecutive Commonwealth Games.
The 28-year-old won the marathon and 800 meters at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and has also won three world para-athletics titles.
“We talk about defending titles, but we try so hard in my performance team to keep every race in a bubble. You try so hard not to let past successes or previous failures color what you’re going to do and you really can, really are challenging,” she said.
“Sometimes the trust is too much and you’re a little ahead of yourself and sometimes it’s too much in the way that it’s a debilitating pressure instead, so we’re trying to move away from all that
“But it’s definitely a small motivator if you know what it feels like to be at the top of that podium, of course you want it that little bit more.”
Eden Rainbow-Cooper took silver and compatriot Shelly Oxley-Woods was third ahead of Australia’s Christie Dawes.
No bronze medal was awarded as there were only four starters.
“Regardless of the size of the field, it’s an incredibly elite field,” said De Rozario, emphasizing that she believed the talent pool would grow.
De Rozario will now focus on Thursday’s 1500m and admitted she was a little nervous given her minimal track work since Tokyo and the reverse race schedule.
“I’m not used to having to support the marathon with a track race, I’ve certainly never done it before. But none of us have done that,” she said.