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COMMONWEALTH GAMES (3)

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Katrina Hart
Katrina Hart en route to Commonwealth gold

07 October 2010

England’s Mark Lewis-Francis (Linford Christie) won his second major 100m silver medal of the season at the Commonwealth Games but it was Paralympic sprinter Katrina Hart (Rob Ellchuk) who won England’s first athletics gold in Delhi. 

Lewis-Francis, 28, recovered from a slow start to storm back to silver behind Jamaica’s Lerone Clarke to add to the silver medal he won at the European Championships in Barcelona this summer.

It later transpired that the 2004 Olympic relay gold medallist suffered a cruel twist of fate when his starting blocks slipped, before he went on to clock 10.20 seconds, 0.08 seconds behind Clarke.

But despite that, Lewis-Francis admitted he was over the moon to get his first Commonwealth Games medal.

"I'm a bit gutted about that," said Lewis-Francis. "My blocks slipped. I would have been much closer to gold; in fact I would have won that if the blocks didn't slip.

"But make no mistake about it; I'm over the moon at the moment. Two silver medals in one season are unbelievable.

"I've come back from a dark hole. I was injured for two years but I've come back and I'm getting my rewards.

"I'm second fastest in the Commonwealth and I'm second fastest in Europe and it brings an end to an amazing season."

The honour of claiming England’s first athletics gold medal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium went to Hart, however, as she topped the podium in the T37 100m final.

The 20-year-old was pushed all the way by Welsh rival Jenny McLoughlin (Darrell Maynard) but she pipped her to gold after clocking a new personal best and British record of 14.36 seconds.

McLoughlin finished just 0.32 seconds behind taking silver also in a personal best time of 14.68 seconds, while England’s Bethany Woodward (Todd Bennett) came home sixth in 15.27 seconds.

“I didn’t get off to as good start as I would have liked but Jenny pushed me all the way and that is probably why I got a personal best,” said Hart.

“She was with me all the time but that was good and I have the IPC World Athletics Championships in January to focus on now and then the London 2012 Paralympic s after that.”

Carys Parry (Lorraine Shaw) threw a season’s best to claim women’s hammer silver for Wales while England’s Zoe Derham (Lorraine Shaw) took bronze in the same event in Delhi.

Parry, 19, landed five of her six attempts with her best effort of 64.93m nearly a metre better than Derham who threw 64.04m.

Canada’s Sultana Frizell took an impressive gold recording a new Commonwealth Games record of 68.57m while Wales’ Laura Douglas (Kevin Madden) finished eighth with a best of 61.05m.

“I am amazed,” said Parry. “I knew if things went well Zoe and I could both come away with medals but there were a lot of tall girls out there who can throw a long way.”

Meanwhile Derham, who claimed a medal in the hammer at the third time of asking at the Commonwealth Games, said: “I have gone from eighth in 2002 to fifth in 2006 to bronze now and that is great. It means so much to me. I have been around a lot of years now but it has all been worth it.”

Elsewhere, Scotland sprinter Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins) cruised into the 400m final after clocking 52.27 seconds to finish second-quickest in her heat.

McConnell, who won silver in 2002 as well as 400m bronze in 2006, was the only British runner to reach the medal showdown but admitted she would have to step it up a gear if she was to claim a podium finish.

“I took the lead at 300m and settled down which probably wasn’t the right thing to do and I ended up a little bit further back in the race when I should have actually tried to win it,” said McConnell.

“I executed the first 300m well and I should have continued all the way home and I hope I have got the legs to do that in the final tomorrow.”

England’s Vicki Barr (Ayo Falola) missed out on a place in the final after crossing the line in 53.51 seconds to finish fourth in the third and final semi-final.

Despite missing out on a final spot team-mate Nadine Okyere (Joe Caines) was consoled by running a new lifetime best of 52.89 seconds to finish third in her heat.

England’s Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball) finished fifth in her heat in 53.24 seconds with Northern Ireland’s Joanna Mills eighth in the same race in 55.68 seconds.

In the decathlon, England’s Martin Brockman (Christopher Bowman) is in second place after five of the ten events with 4114 points while Scotland’s Roger Skedd (Greg Richards) is fourth on 3968.

England’s Ben Hazell (Bill Jewers) accrued 3879 to lie eighth overnight while Northern Ireland’s Tom Reynolds collected3762 to place 11th and Ben Gregory (Alan Richardson) has 3737, one place behind in 12th.

In the women’s 100m final, England’s Katherine Endacott (Linford Christie) clocked a new personal best of 11.44 seconds but finished agonisingly out of the medals in fourth place.

But there was not such good luck for England’s Laura Turner (Linford Christie) who was adjudged to have false-started and was disqualified.

She ran under protest but could not regain her composure and crossed the line in eighth place in 11.57 seconds but her disqualification was upheld.

Montell Douglas (Ayo Falola) failed to make it out of her semi-final after finishing fifth in 11.62 seconds.

England’s Carl Myerscough (Self) was left to curse his luck after Australia’s Dale Stevenson produced a lifetime best throw of 19.99m to deny him shot put bronze.

Myerscough, known as the Blackpool Tower, threw 19.74m with his first throw but failed to go any further after Stevenson eclipsed him in the next round.

Team-mate Scott Rider (John Hillier) saved his best till last to throw 17.73m with his final attempt to finish eighth with Ryan Jones of Wales tenth with a throw of 16.66m and Zane Duquemin (John Hillier) of Jersey 12th with a best of 15.97m.

And in the men’s T46 100m final, England’s Ola Abidogun (Steve Thomas) finished fifth with in time of 11.50 seconds.