Aussie golden girl's sad announcement after Tokyo Olympics heroics

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Riley Day, pictured here in action at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Riley Day shot to national prominence at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Image: Getty

Sprinter Riley Day has joined hurdler Liz Clay as high-profile withdrawals from the Commonwealth Games in a huge blow for the Australian team.

The 22-year-old has been battling a knee complaint for much of the year and revealed on Monday that she won't be fit to compete at the Games in Birmingham - starting this week.

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She had been due to run the 200m and 4x100m relay in Birmingham but hasn't raced since March.

Ella Connolly and Jacinta Beecher will contest the 200m in Day's absence.

Day shot to national prominence at the Tokyo Olympics last year when she smashed her PB in the 200m semi-finals with a time of 22.56 seconds.

She narrowly missed a spot in the star-studded final but captivated Australia with her blistering time, while also leaving fans shocked when she revealed he didn't have a sponsor.

Speaking after the race, the Queenslander revealed she had to fund her trip to the Olympics by working at her local Woolworths in Beaudesert.

Fans across the country then called on the supermarket giants to step up and sponsor Day, to which they responded by announcing a special partnership.

Riley Day has since signed a sponsorship deal with Woolworths. Image: Getty/Twitter
Riley Day has since signed a sponsorship deal with Woolworths. Image: Getty/Twitter

The deal has allowed Day to relocate to Brisbane to work on her dream of competing at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Brisbane will offer Day access to better training facilities, coaches and programs in her quest for an Olympic Games medal in Paris.

“Now that I have achieved a personal best on the global stage, I’m grateful for the long term investment and commitment that Woolworths will provide to help me take the next stage in my athletics career as I set my sights on Paris 2024," she said.

Liz Clay also out of Commonwealth Games

Day joined Clay in withdrawing from the Commonwealth Games on Monday after the hurdler broke her foot in a fall at the world championships.

Australia's top-ranked hurdler, Clay suffered the injury when she smashed into the seventh hurdle and crashed to the track in her opening-round heat in Eugene on Saturday.

A subsequent X-ray confirmed the 27-year-old had fractured her left foot in two places, ruling her out of action for several months.

Clay sits third on the Australian all-time list in the 100m hurdles, behind the great Sally Pearson and Michelle Jenneke, who clocked a personal best of 12.66 seconds in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Clay set her PB of 12.71 in the Tokyo Olympics semi-finals last year and only missed out on a spot in the final by four hundredths of a second.

EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 23: Liz Clay of Team Australia (C) falls as they compete in the Women's 100m Hurdles heats on day nine of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 23, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
EUGENE, OREGON - JULY 23: Liz Clay of Team Australia (C) falls as they compete in the Women's 100m Hurdles heats on day nine of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 23, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jenneke and Celeste Mucci are the other two Australians entered in the 100m hurdles for the Birmingham Games, although there is also a possibility a like-for-like replacement could be found for Clay.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Ash Moloney is also unlikely to compete in Birmingham after pulling out of the world championships decathlon with three events to go.

Moloney has battled patellar tendinitis in both knees for much of the year and it became too much to bear on Sunday.

But the 22-year-old was still holding out hope he could recover in time to compete at the Games, with the Commonwealth decathlon starting on August 4.

"I don't draw a line in the sand until I'm there," he said.

"I'll let it play out and well see what happens."

Ashley Moloney, pictured here competing in the men's decathlon 110m hurdles at the world championships.
Ashley Moloney competes in the men's decathlon 110m hurdles at the world championships. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Middle-distance star Jessica Hull was due to come out of isolation on Sunday, having tested positive to Covid the day after she finished seventh in the 1500m final in Eugene.

After isolating for five days at her home in nearby Portland, the 25-year-old will have to undergo PCR testing 72 hours before entering the athletes village and again on arrival in Birmingham.

If she recovers in time, the multiple national record holder is a 1500m gold-medal contender, although Scotland's Laura Muir is the clear title favourite after winning bronze at the world championships.

with AAP

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