Golds for Marschall, Stevens

Kurtis Marschall showed nerves of steel to claim a dramatic victory in the Commonwealth Games pole vault as he continued to follow in the footsteps of his idol Steve Hooker.

For a while on Thursday night it looked as if Marschall and Canadian Shawn Barber would tie for the gold, but a successful third and final clearance at 5.70m ensured the Australian would stand alone atop the podium.

While the pole vault was tense and tight, Dani Stevens' celebrated victory in the discus could hardly have been more commanding.

Any of her five legal throws would have been good enough for gold, with Stevens icing the win by smashing the 20-year-old Games record with 68.92m in the penultimate round.

With Brooke Stratton winning silver in the women's long jump and Luke Mathews claiming bronze in the 800m, Australia has already surpassed its able-bodied medals haul from the 2014 Games with three days of athletics competition still to come.

The host nation has six gold medals in able-bodied events and a swag of silvers and bronzes.

At the Glasgow Games, Australia won only nine able-bodied medals overall, including six golds.

Marschall still has some way to go to emulate the record of Hooker, who won Olympic and world titles and two Commonwealth crowns.

But right now he is tracking ahead of the vaulting great, having won his first Commonwealth title as a 20-year-old.

"We are on a similar path actually," said Marschall.

"Steve won the 2006 Commonwealth Games as a home Games.

"I just won exactly the same thing.

"But Steve went to world number one the next year, so that is the next goal."

Hooker paid tribute to Marschall's ability to produce under pressure.

"Every opportunity that he has had, he has taken," Hooker told Channel Seven.

"This is just an amazing step. He is a world-class performer.

"It's an amazing step toward him being a true prospect for the Tokyo Olympics."

Stevens, 29, is amassing an impressive collection of major discus medals, having won gold at the 2009 world championships and silver at last year's world titles in London.

With her penultimate throw on Thursday she smashed the Games record set by New Zealander Beatrice Faumuina back in 1998.

The Games record was definitely on my mind, I wanted to snag that one," Stevens said.

"I was a little disappointed not to get that in Glasgow."

Stratton saved her best for last in the long jump, but her final jump of 6.77m was not enough to lift her past gold medallist Christabel Nettey from Canada (6.84m).

"I would have loved to have won gold but silver feels just as special," said Stratton, who is coached by her father Russell.

Mathews went from sixth spot at the top of the final straight all the way to third in an engrossing men's 800m final won by Kenyan Wycliffe Kinyamal.

In other action, 15-year-old Rhiannon Clarke continued the host nation's run of success in the para-athletics events, finishing second in the T38 100m.

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