Doncaster Athletic Club’s Abbey Caldwell came of age on the international stage at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. Abbey’s Bronze Medal in the Women’s 1500m Final certainly brought the 21 year old front and centre. And Abbey’s time of 4.04.79 actually equals her own Doncaster Athletic Club record, set in March of this year. (Abbey ran slightly quicker in California 4:04:18 May 2022.) Abbey can now add the Commonwealth Games 1500m Bronze Medal to her Australian Gold Medal for the 1500m from this year’s National Championships.
What makes Abbey’s Commonwealth Bronze Medal even more special is her outstanding mental approach to the Birmingham Games. As the current National 1500m champion and having run the qualifying time ahead of the World Athletic Championships in Oregon, Abbey was preparing herself to compete for Australia in the World Champs. However, she was not selected. Such a selection decision could have thrown Abbey into turmoil. But full credit to Abbey; having then been selected in the Commonwealth Games team Abbey switched her mind and preparation to Birmingham. A real ‘pat on the back’ to Abbey’s coach Gavin Burren, for his great support throughout what must have been a tough process. Gavin also went to Birmingham along with Abbey’s extended family to watch her live at the track, another bonus. Clearly, Abbey belongs at the pointy end of international 1500m athletes and just as importantly, she has an exceptionally strong mental approach to her sport.
It was the Scottish star, Laura Muir that won Gold in Birmingham and another ‘local’ Northern Ireland’s Ciara Mageean that won Silver. Muir won her Gold by almost two seconds while Mageean just held Abbey at bay winning Silver by just a little over half a second. Muir had recently finished third at the World Championships in Oregon so was in great form leading in.
Muir threw a challenge to the rest of the field when she stepped up the pace with well over a lap to run. Northern Ireland’s Mageean tried to go with Muir but Muir had set quite a bridge. With 150m to run, commentator Bruce McAvaney said it looked like all three Australians were out of the medals. But Abbey had a different view; her last 150m run was stunning. Abbey came from the pack and stormed home; if the race had been a further 15 to 20m to run who knows what may have happened.
In fact, Abbey’s final sprint home was enough for Australian Linden Hall to link in with Abbey and Hall ran fourth (4.05.09). The third Australian in the final, Jessica Hull finished eighth (4.07.31).
No doubt lots of Australians have been watching a lot of the Birmingham Games; Australian athletes have been sensational across so many sports. However, those of us at Doncaster Athletic Club will always have this very special performance in our highlights list.
Congratulations Abbey, great run, well done! We look forward to welcoming you home.