Two gold, three silvers and one bronze.
That’s how many medals Macarthur athletes have brought home from the Commonwealth Games this year.
Leumeah pistol shooter Kerry Bell, Camden Hockeyroo Emily Hurtz and Wilton cyclist Kaarle McCulloch did the region proud on the Gold Coast, trying their hardest and securing coveted medals for their country.
Bell told the Advertiser the whole experience of his first Commonwealth Games was “amazing”.
He picked up a silver medal in the 10m air pistol competition last week.
“There weren’t too many nerves on the day, but there was plenty of anxiety in the lead-up,” he said.
“There really isn’t any space to think about anything but what you’re doing, your own performance. As soon as another thought comes in, you’ll just lose it.”
Bell said he was “ecstatic” when he realised he had secured a medal – with still two shots left to fire – and he struggled to contain his emotions until the end.
“I just felt like jumping up, I was so excited,” he said.
“I had my partner and her mother and plenty of the Campbelltown Liverpool District Pistol Club there to cheer me on. It was great to have that cheer squad.”
The 47-year-old – who only picked up the sport of pistol shooting in 2012 – said he could not have done as well without the support of his workplace, Southwest Automotive.
“Most of the team with Shooting Australia are part-timers, we all have jobs outside the sport,” he said.
“Without their support, like I’ve had here, we just wouldn’t be able to do it.
“We’re up against countries were the shooters are full-time athletes.”
Bell’s boss Sue Taylor, owner of Southwest Automotive, said the crew was expecting the mechanic to qualify for the 2022 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“If he makes it, we’re all going to Tokyo – it’s locked in,” she said.
Bell gifted Taylor the commemorative koala toy he received with his silver medal, to thank her for all her support.
Camden-raised hockey player Emily Hurtz, a member of the Hockeyroos squad, also earned a silver medal at the Games.
She said the campaign was “very successful” and she was thoroughly impressed by the management of the event.
“The vibe of the fans, the organisers, the volunteers – it was all on point,” she said.
The Hockeyroos performed well throughout the tournament, preventing all opponents from scoring against them until the gold medal match against arch-rivals New Zealand.
After a tight start, the Kiwis eventually broke the deadlock, and finished the game 4-1.
“Overall, it was a bit of a disappointing result that we couldn’t get the gold,” Hurtz said.
“They just performed better on the day and we’ll need to do better next time we face them.”
Hurtz said claiming a silver medal in front of a home crowd was a “once-in-a-lifetime” achievement and she was proud of both herself and the team.
The whole team has a week to recover from the Commonwealth Games before heading to New Zealand for a tri-series with Japan.
Kaarle McCulloch was Macarthur’s most prolific medal winner of the 2018 games, bringing home two golds, a silver and a bronze medal for her efforts.
The 30-year-old said the Gold Coast games were among the greatest events she’s ever attended.
“It was more than just the home audience too, it was the organisation and the incredible volunteers, who always had a smile on their faces, even if they stood at the same doorway for six hours,” she said.
“It meant so much to have my whole family cheering me on, that’s not something you get all the time.”
McCulloch said her incredible achievements on the track had not yet sunk in and she was looking forward to coming home.
“Saying that, I’m not quite ready to leave yet,” she said, mere minutes from boarding her plane back to Sydney.
“It’s been everything I could have hoped for.”
McCulloch said she was proud to deliver several personal best results at the Games.
She now has her sights set on Tokyo and believes if she “puts in the hard work” she could live her dream of winning Olympic gold.