And the winners (and losers) are...

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games finished with an underwhelming closing ceremony on Sunday night. The Otago Daily Times sports team give their assessment of the preceding 11 days.

Adrian Seconi

Most impressive NZ performance: Track cyclist Sam Webster nabbed two gold medals in a classy display of sprinting. But weightlifter David Liti won New Zealand over with his easy smile and Games record combined total of a mammoth 403kg. Not bad for a big teddy bear.

Biggest NZ surprise: Still blown away by how much progress Hamish Bond has made on the bike. What an athlete.

Biggest NZ underachiever: Silver Ferns. The New Zealand public had pretty low expectations due to some terrible prior form which saw them lose twice in a week to Jamaica and then Malawi.

Overall Games star: Too hard, too hard. But Canada's Alysha Newman produced a clutch effort to steal gold from New Zealand's darling Eliza McCartney in the pole vault final.

Rate the TVNZ coverage: I'm keeping my Sky subscription - let's put it that way. It was a special effort to go to commercials as often as they did. And to synchronise those ads across all three channels was a wonderful achievement worthy of a spot at the top of the dais. Jenny-May Clarkson was the star. She always gave honest answers as a player and it is good to see that coming through in her commentary.

Jeff Cheshire

Most impressive NZ performance: Joelle King hardly put a foot wrong in the women's squash. She won gold in both singles and doubles, while also taking bronze in the mixed doubles. Can't get much more dominant than that.

Biggest NZ surprise: After underwhelming on the big stage for several years, the Black Sticks women finally delivered when it mattered to take gold. Overcame their penalty shootout jitters in the semifinal to beat England, then dispatched Australia 4-1 to win gold.

Biggest NZ underachiever: Silver should have been a given for the Tall Blacks. Even without their European-based players, the side should have had far too good for a young Canadian team.

Overall Games star: We won't single out one player, but the England netball team pulled off one of the great upsets in beating Australia with a last second goal to take gold.

Rate the TVNZ coverage: Not great. The ads often came at crucial times and the choice of what to play and when was all over the place. While Olivia McTaggart was jumping in the women's pole vault the coverage switched to televise the Black Ferns' sevens game on at the same time. That might be understandable, but that very sevens game was already on another channel.

Jonny Turner

Most impressive NZ performance: Men's Rugby sevens. Like many others, I was bitterly disappointed with the men's teams' efforts at the Rio Olympics. To see this team completely turn around that performance showed the work they had put in in the two years since they were embarrassingly bundled out of pool play.

Biggest NZ surprise: Jenny-May Clarkson's post match questioning. I would argue that TVNZ reporter Clarkson's interviewing performance, following the Silver Ferns' loss to England, was better than most of the Kiwi players' performances on the court. In an age of diluted press conferences, media training and teams being surrounded by their own PR flunkies, Clarkson slipped a good question through to the keeper.

Biggest NZ underachiever: The Silver Ferns are the obvious choice, but enough has been said about them. Personally, I would sack the coach and the whole management team and put some people in there who have a passion for New Zealand netball, but more importantly a encyclopedic knowledge of the game. Dishonourable mentions to the bowls team, which was poor, and we did not take home a shooting medal.

Overall Games star: Usain Bolt - biggest star there, just not running.

Rate the TVNZ coverage: Woeful, diabolical, crazy, unthinkable. I cannot add much more to the chorus of dissatisfaction that rang out throughout the games.

Steve Hepburn

Most impressive NZ performance: Boxer David Nyika had a lot of pressure on him throughout the Games and he handled it with aplomb. He had lost his coach a few months before the Games, but that did not trouble him at all.

Biggest NZ surprise: The performance of the hockey and sevens teams. The hockey teams have a history of choking at the big occasion, but they did well. The sevens team peaked at just the right time.

Overall Games star: With 23 sports from artistic gymnastics to wrestling, it is hard to pick a star. The English netball girls were pretty good. Just the sheer joy in winning a long awaited gold medal. Also Dame Val Adams and her baby.

Rate the TVNZ coverage: Who was running it? The 2017 Kiwis World Cup campaign manager? Criticising Sky TV is a national pastime in this country but now we have the alternative. And it ain't pretty. Does not bode well for the Rugby World Cup next year.


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