Day powers to another Coolangatta Gold win

Ed JacksonAAP
Ali Day has continued his domination of the Coolangatta Gold.
Camera IconAli Day has continued his domination of the Coolangatta Gold. Credit: AAP

With his one-year-old son in his arms, surf lifesaving superstar Ali Day has added another chapter to his own legend by winning a seventh Coolangatta Gold on Sunday.

In one of the most dominant displays in the history of the iconic 41.8km endurance race, Day simply blew away the field on the Gold Coast.

Such was the margin between Day and his rivals, he had time to scoop up son Danny in the victory chute and carry him to the finish line.

It extends Day's record of having never been beaten in any Coolangatta Gold he's contested since his breakthrough win in 2012.

It also continues a remarkable return to the sport after a freak double-wrist fracture in 2019, which sidelined Day for 12 months and left him battling depression.

Since his comeback to competition, Day has swept last summer's Ironman series, claimed his first Ironman crown at April's national championships and now regained his Coolangatta Gold crown.

"I watched the race in 2019 at Mermaid Beach with two casts on my wrist and it was one of the worst days of my life to have to sit and endure that," he said.

"There's definitely moments over the last few weeks where (wife) Kel showed me photos of that and today wasn't about winning, it was about just being able to have the opportunity to get back out there."

Racing on a compacted course due to COVID-19 travel restrictions limiting the number of interstate entrants and volunteers, Day emerged from the 23km surf leg neck-and-neck with defending champion Matt Bevilacqua.

Having done his swimming training under the guidance of Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown's mentor Chris Mooney, Day was too strong on the 3.5km ocean swim and opened up a commanding lead by the time he returned to Coolangatta beach.

He set off for the final 8.2km run leg six minutes clear of the field, enabling him to soak up the atmosphere with his son and wife in the final hundred metres.

"Obviously you never like to think if you're going to win, what you should do, what your victory claim would be but in the back of my mind, I won't lie ... if I got the chance I was going to grab him for sure," he said.

"Just a really special moment for for my family."

New Zealand's Corey Brown finished second with Bevilacqua third.

Day paid tribute to both his competitors when asked if the lure of winning 10 Golds was on his mind.

"People are throwing out 10 that's for sure, but look it takes a lot of energy, effort - mental, emotional - everything," he said.

"Today is obviously the icing on top but who knows?"

In a thrilling finish to the women's race, Courtney Hancock stormed home on the run leg to chase down New Zealand's Danielle McKenzie and claim a record fourth Gold success, with Georgia Miller third.

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