‘Over the moon’, Buninyong’s Rizzo in Commonwealth Games final

ALL SMILES: Sam Rizzo with his father Tony on the Gold Coast (inset) and the young athlete practicing on the track.

ALL SMILES: Sam Rizzo with his father Tony on the Gold Coast (inset) and the young athlete practicing on the track.

Buninyong wheelchair athlete Sam Rizzo is celebrating his qualification to the Commonwealth Games men’s T54 1500m final.

The 17-year-old finished fourth in heat one with a time of 3:12.91 minutes, with fellow Australian Jake Lappin in first spot setting a Games record of 3:11.72, at Carrara Stadium on Monday.

But the Games record was broken again shortly after when England’s Richard Chiassaro clocked a time of 3:05.76 to win heat two. 

Veteran Australian wheelchair track racer Kurt Fearnley followed closely behind in second place with a time of 3:06.72.

The first three competitors in each heat and the next four fastest advanced to the final, which allowed all Australians to qualify. 

Rizzo’s proud parents Debbie and Tony, who flew to the Gold Coast on the weekend, watched on in the stands and said they were “over the moon” with the result.

Rizzo will compete in the final at the Carrara Stadium track on Tuesday at 8.27pm. 

Meanwhile, former Eureka Athletics Club member Stewart McSweyn finished fifth in the men’s 5000m final on Sunday with a time of 13:58.96 minutes. 

And it was good news for Victoria Mitchell, who has been given the all clear to compete in the steeplechase on Wednesday. The former Ballarat university student had her appendix removed days out from the Games.