MELBOURNE: The thousands of volunteers who have helped the Commonwealth Games run smoothly will get a double dose of thanks a commemorative medal and a ticket to an Australian Rules football game.
The Victoria state government has produced 24,000 medals for every games volunteer, athlete, team official, technical official and other involved with the games.
``This medal builds on the Commonwealth Games tradition of giving a keepsake to every person who contributed to delivering the Games,'' Victoria state premier Steve Bracks said.
Mother is more important
And the winner is? Mark Boswell won the high jump Canada's first athletics gold medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games but couldn't hang around to accept the accolades.
Boswell's event was on Wednesday night and he had a flight departing on Thursday.
Due to overruns on Wednesday, the high jump medal ceremony was moved to Thursday.
Silver medallist Martyn Bernard of England and bronze medallist Kyriacos Ioannou of Cyprus turned up, but the top podium spot was empty while the national anthem `O Canada' was played and the flag raised.
Television footage of Boswell's winning jump was played on the big screen.
Canadian team officials said Boswell received his gold medal in a formal ceremony with Games officials. Canadian media said Boswell left to be with his ill mother.
Kiss 'n tell
Prime Minister John Howard has been helping the country's athletes celebrate their gold medals.
Howard was on court with Lauren Jackson and the women's basketball team after its gold medal win over New Zealand.
``We spotted `Johnny' in the stand and we waved him to come down,'' Australian basketballer Erin Phillips said. ``He ran down looking excited and I think we all got a kiss.''
Howard also got kisses from Australian swimmers Libby Lenton, Jodie Henry and Alice Mills during a medal presentation last week.
Mick Gault became the most prolific English athlete ever in the Commonwealth Games when he collected his 14th medal a silver in a shooting event earlier in the week.
He also highlighted the frustrations of trying to remain competitive.
Redhead said the modified pistols didn't help in competition.
``It's a different trigger weight, different recoil, different weight, different balance. Everything's different,'' Redhead said.
On the backfoot
England's shooters have won five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. Head pistol shooting coach Tom Redhead said it could have been more if they were allowed to properly train in Britain.
Gun laws introduced after the 1996 shooting of 16 children at a school in Dunblane, Scotland, mean competitive shooters have to use modified models to train with in Britain or go to Switzerland to use competition-level guns.
``The Swiss are very hospitable they allow us a Swiss firearms certificate, but it's expensive, so we can only get there four or five times a year over a weekend and it's a day travelling there and a day back,'' Redhead said. ``It's a bizarre situation.'' AP