Medals galore for La Trobe Elite Athlete Program in Birmingham

The La Trobe Elite Athlete Program (LEAP) has delivered five medals to Australia’s overall tally in an outstanding display at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

After 12 days of intense sporting competition, all four of the LEAP program’s members proved their credentials on the world stage, with Amy Lawton (Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics - Honours), Josh Katz (Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science), Caitlin Parker (Diploma of Sports Coaching & Development) and Mack Horton (Bachelor of Applied Business) all taking home at least one medal from the Australian team’s dominant display in Birmingham.

Australia finished the 2022 Commonwealth Games with the highest medal tally overall of all nations competing with 178 medals, including 67 gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze.

Mack Horton, a La Trobe-Didasko student, was the first to secure a medal, winning bronze in the Men’s 400m Freestyle to make a splash on the first day of competition. The 26-year-old qualified second in the heats with a time of 3:47.54 and burst home to claim third place in the final with a time of 3:46.49. Horton finished behind his teammates Elijah Winnington and Samuel Short in one of five podium sweeps for Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Horton’s biggest success came in the Men’s 4x200m Freestyle, where he and his teammates Winnington, Flynn Southam, and Zac Incerti set a new Commonwealth Games record to claim the gold medal. Their time of 7:04.96 was just over a second quicker than the previous record of 7:05.97, bettering the effort of Horton’s relay team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

It was a great effort from Caitlin Parker, who followed up her 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medal on the Gold Coast with a bronze medal in Birmingham. The Carlton College of Sport student performed brilliantly against Kenya’s Elizabeth Andiego in the quarter finals of the Women’s Middleweight Boxing competition, before unfortunately being defeated by the eventual gold medallist, Canada’s Tammara Thibeault, in the semi-final.

However, Parker did take home a bronze medal for her efforts, and she will surely use her feats in Birmingham as a springboard to further success at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Josh Katz also took home a bronze medal in the Men’s 60kg Judo event by defeating Zambia’s Simon Zulu in the bronze medal match. In the lead-up to his final fight, Katz defeated Wales’ Callum Bennet and India’s Vijay Yadav, before losing to England’s eventual gold medallist Ashley McKenzie in the semi-final.

Since Judo had not taken place at the event since 2014, this was Katz’s first ever Commonwealth Games medal, with his experience in Birmingham setting a strong platform for him to achieve further success in the future.

Finally, it was a strong performance across the first five games for Amy Lawton and the Hockeyroos, but they eventually fell short at the final hurdle in the Women’s Hockey gold medal match against England to claim silver for their efforts.

In the lead-up to the final, the Hockeyroos comfortably won their group games without conceding a single goal, before getting past India in the semi-final on penalties, with Lawton scoring the third of Australia’s three goals in the shootout.

Much like Katz, it was also Lawton’s first medal at the Commonwealth Games in her first appearance at the event. As an established member of the national side at just 20 years of age, Lawton has a bright future in the green and gold in front of her and will be determined to go one better with her Hockeyroos teammates at the next Commonwealth Games on home soil in 2026.

On behalf of the La Trobe University community, La Trobe Sport congratulates Mack, Caitlin, Josh and Amy on their outstanding achievements in Birmingham and we wish them all the best in their ongoing academic and sporting endeavours.

For more information on the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program, head to the La Trobe Sport website.

Main Image Credit: Mark Dadswell/Victorian Institute of Sport