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commonwealth games (9)

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Steve Lewis

11 October 2010

England’s Abi Oyepitan (Tony Lester) captured 200m silver in her first major international final for six years at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Oyepitan, 30, who finished seventh at the 2004 Athens Olympics, clocked a season’s best time of 23.26 seconds to clinch second place as gold went to Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands in 22.89 seconds.

"It's amazing, I'm trying to keep my composure but I'm just so happy with that," said Oyepitan. "I really wanted to push Cydonie but I just don't have it in the legs at the moment, but it'll come. This is the first winter's training I've had for six years. It's not been completely consistent but it's definitely the best I've had since 2004.

"You need a few winters under your belt to really be at your best and that's what I'm planning now in the build-up to London 2012 and it won't be long before I'm under 23 seconds again."

Meanwhile, fellow England sprinter Joice Maduaka (Loren Seagrave) finished just outside the medals in fourth place in 23.57 seconds as bronze went to Canada's Adrian Power in 23.52 seconds.

Scotland's Lee McConnell (Rodger Harkins) was next over the line in fifth place while Wales's Elaine O'Neill (Tom Crick), who profited from the disqualification of Cyrpus' Elena Artymata with a reprieve and a place in the final, was eighth.

In the men’s pole vault, England’s Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) also clinched silver ahead of team-mate Max Eaves (Alan Richardson), who claimed bronze, while Olympic champion Steve Hooker of Australia secured gold.

Lewis cleared a season’s best of 5.60m – the same height achieved by Hooker – but gold went to the Australian on countback.

Lewis has struggled for form this season having set about adapting his technique, but he believes it has been worth the wait after collecting silver. “We went back to square one because pole vaulting starts with the run,” he said. “It’s taken six months but now I feel like a pole vaulter again and it’s great to see that the changes are now working.

“I’m going to leave here with a smile on my face.”

Eaves cleared a personal best height of 5.40m for bronze while Wales’s Paul Walker (Alan Richardson) achieved a season’s best of 5.25m to finish fifth but England’s Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) failed his three attempts at the same height.

“This is my first major championship so I can’t ask for any more than that – and I’ve got a personal best,” said Eaves. “It really looks promising for next year now.”

England’s Emma Jackson (Alan Morris) clocked a new personal best of 2:00.46 minutes as the City of Stoke athlete finished fourth in the 800m.

“I really thought I had a chance for a medal for a while and I just kept telling myself to keep going but I couldn’t hold out,” she said. “I got a personal best which was a first at a major competition so I have to be happy with that.

“I woke up this morning with a text message from Dame Kelly Holmes giving me recovery advice and tactical advice, which was amazing so you can’t ask for much more help than that.”

Jackson finished one place and 0.01 seconds ahead of teammate Hannah England (Bud Baldaro) who produced a season’s best, as gold went to Kenya’s Nancy Langat to add to her 1500m title in Delhi.

The Kenyan dominance on the track continued in the 3000m steeplechase with the East African nation completing a clean sweep.

Richard Mateelong took the gold with Ezekiel Cheboi in silver and Brimin Kipruto completing the podium.

Stuart Stokes was the first home of the English athletes, ending fifth in a season’s best time of 8.32.24 minutes while Luke Gunn (Bud Baldaro) finished seventh in a time of 8.40.44 minutes.

“My plan was to get out there and get amongst it, which I did, but in the end they were just too strong,” said Gunn.

Uganda’s Moses Kipsiro became the first man to complete the 5000m and 10,000m double since New Zealand’s Cecil Matthews did so in 1938 with a blistering 10,000m victory in 27:57.39 minutes.

In the men’s 4x100m, England had no problems in booking their place in the final as the foursome of Ryan Scott (Lloyd Cowan), 200m champion Leon Baptiste (Michael Khmel), Marlon Devonish (Tony Lester) and Mark Lewis-Francis (Linford Christie) qualified for tomorrow’s final second fastest in 38.67 seconds.

Devonish and Lewis-Francis are both members of the Great Britain quartet that clinched Olympic sprint relay gold at Athens 2004, and Lewis Francis, who has already won 100m silver in Delhi, said: “The main thing for me was to get through and that’s what we did.

“I’m confident we can step it up in the final. We are all tired and sore after a long hard season but we’re really going to give it our all in the final and sign off in style.”

In the men's 4x400m heats, the England quartet of Nick Leavey (Simon Duberley), David Hughes (Steve Hughes), Richard Yates (Stephen Ball) and Graham Hedman (Nick Dakin) recovered from a sluggish start to ease into the final in second place in their heat behind Kenya in 3:05.34 minutes.

And a strong finish from Gareth Warburton (Darrell Maynard) ensured Wales' team of three 800m runners including Joe Thomas (Arwyn Davies) and Chris Gowell as well as 400m hurdles bronze medallist Rhys Williams (Malcolm Arnold) advanced in third place with a time of 3:06.31 minutes.  

But there was no such joy for the Guernsey team of Dale Garland (Malcolm Arnold), Tom Druce (Malcolm Arnold), Hywel Robinson and Matthew Bailey, who came home fifth in 3:14.51 seconds and missed out on a place in the final.

Maduaka returned to the track to help England's women's 4x400m quartet advance through to tomorrow's final after finishing second place in their heat.

Kelly Massey (Stephen Ball), Vicki Barr (Ayo Falola) and Nadine Okyere (Joe Caines) joined Maduaka as England clocked 3:36.68 minute,s while the Scottish quartet of Gemma Nicol, Kathryn Evans, Claire Gibson (Derek Parker) and Eilidh Child (Stuart Hogg) also advanced after clocking 3:36.93 minutes. Northern Ireland, represented by Joanna Mills, Christine McMahon, Katie Kirk (Mark Kirk) and Jo Patterson finished sixth in their heat in 3:40.92 minutes and therefore miss out on the final.

European silver medallist Chris Thompson (John Nuttall) of England crossed the line in eighth place in 28.50.47 minutes, two places ahead of England’s Andy Vernon (Nick Anderson) who clocked 29.49.91 minutes while Guernsey’s Lee Merrien (John Nuttall) and England’s John Beattie (John Nuttall) came home 14th and 15th respectively.

In the women’s discus final, Wales’s Philippa Roles (Maggie Lynes) finished fourth with a best throw of 57.99m as Krishna Poonia led an Indian 1-2-3, securing the hosts’ first Commonwealth Games track and field gold medal for 52 years.

England’s Jade Nicholls (Andrew Neal) ended the competition in sixth place with 57.62m while Jersey’s Kathryn Rothwell (John Hillier) failed to register a mark.

And in the men’s 1500m heats, the England duo Tom Lancashire (Norman Poole) and Andy Baddeley (Andrew Hobdell) eased through their race in third and fourth place, clocking times of 3:40.84 minutes and 3:41.25 minutes respectively.

Wales’s James Thie (Self) squeezed through in fifth place in his race in 3:42.74 minutes, but there was not such good news for James McIlroy of Northern Ireland and England’s Colin McCourt (Craig Winrow) who finished tenth and 12th in their heat and were eliminated.