Commonwealth Games - Athletics: Sprint gold for Baptiste

Sun, 10 Oct 18:44:00 2010

Leon Baptiste captured England's first sprint gold medal at the Commonwealth Games for 12 years with a blistering 200m victory in Delhi.

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Baptiste captured England's first sprint gold medal at the Commonwealth Games for 12 years with a blistering 200m victory in Delhi.

Baptiste cut a forlorn figure earlier this summer after fluffing his lines at the European trials, ensuring he missed out on the chance to compete in Barcelona.

He was named as part of the 4x100m relay squad and in the training camp in Doha was given another chance to book his place in Barcelona in the individual 200m, provided he could win a run-off with compatriot Marlon Devonish.

But it was Devonish who prevailed while things got worse for Baptiste when the sprint relay quartet dropped a clanger in the heats.

But Baptiste set the record straight in the Indian capital, roaring to victory in 20.45 seconds, and became the first Englishman to top the Commonwealths podium in the 100m or 200m since Julian Golding in 1998.

Delhi belly might be striking down athletes left, right and centre at the 2010 Commonwealth Games - but Dai Greene proved he had the stomach for a fight to take 400m hurdles gold.

Greene stopped the clock at 48.52 seconds as he held a desperate challenge from Louis van Zyl of South Africa to cling onto gold in the Indian capital.

It caps a superb year for Greene who made his breakthrough at last year's World Championships in Berlin before securing his first major international title in Barcelona.

It's Wales first individual Commonwealth Games athletics gold medal since Iwan Thomas clinched the 400m 12 years ago, while Rhys Williams stormed down the home straight to pinch bronze.

Defending champion van Zyl pushed Greene all the way and the duo were neck and neck over the penultimate hurdle.

But it was Greene who carried more momentum into the final jump and despite van Zyl breathing down his neck, the Welshman clung on for victory.

England's Carl Myerscough produced a second-round throw of 60.64m to claim bronze in the discus behind India's Vikas Gowda, 63.69, and gold medallist Benn Harradine, 65.45, of Australia

Scotland's Lee McConnell was the surprise package of the women's 200m semi-final, grabbing a spot in the final and a season's best time of 23.56 seconds in the process.

McConnell could only finish fifth in the final of her more favoured 400m on Friday but she was in fine form over the shorter distance, ending the semi-final second for an automatic qualification spot.

But McConnell was not the only athlete laying down a marker in the semis with England's Abiodun Oyepitan setting a new season's best of 23.33seconds on the way to winning her semi.

Joice Maduaka will be the third home nation runner in the 200m final, the 37-year-old came through the third semi-final in second place - in a time of 23.56 seconds.

The final was due to take place prior to the men's 200m final but there was drama when Cyprus' Elena Artymata was disqualified for running on the line of her lane just minutes before the final was due to begin.

She subsequently lodged an appeal and as a result, the women's 200m final has been rescheduled for tomorrow.

Elsewhere, England's Emma Jackson put herself in a great position for a medal in the 800m, booking a place in the final after getting the better of Olympic 1500m champion Nancy Langat.

The 22-year-old edged Langat - a champion in the 1500m at these Commonwealth Games - in the home straight to end as the fastest qualifier overall with 2:01.63 minutes.

Jackson will be joined in the final by England's Hannah England who finished second in the first heat and the City of Stoke middle distance runner was elated with her performance.

More than the Games / Eurosport

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