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" I think it'll be great to have NZ's best sevens team lineup at KL although I don't know why they haven't included Jeff Wilson - probably because he's never been to Hong Kong .... And I don't know how/why Marc Ellis is included in the squad. How much did his agents pay for that spotlight? "
-- Gazza


'I thought I'd won'

Malaysia wins first track gold as Kiwi collapses; five Games record set

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Posted: Monday September 21, 1998 10:36 AM


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Long-time leader Craig Barrett of New Zealand collapsed with dehydration less than a kilometer from the end of the 50-kilometer walk on the final day of the Commonwealth Games Monday and thought he'd won.

Convinced he had made it to the line, he had no idea as he was rushed to a first aid tent that he had handed Malaysia its first Commonwealth Games athletics gold medal.

In an extraordinary ending to the race, Barrett, who had a 5-minute lead over his rivals almost four hours into the race, began staggering along the road.

He stopped three times, tried to start again and eventually reeled to the side of the road where he fell. He made three attempts to restart, still in the lead, but fell again and this time New Zealand officials called for an ambulance.

By coincidence, it was at that stage that Malaysia's Govindasamy Saravanan walked past him and went on to win his country's first title.

”[My legs] just kind of fell off,” Barrett told a New Zealand television station after recovering. “My head was getting really hot, I was starting to see stars.

”I was in the medical tent and I thought I'd won. ... I was going, `I know what it's like to touch perfection now.' I was just in this space age world, it was quite freaky.”

Barrett's agonizing failure came on the final day of the 16th Games in Kuala Lumpur and, despite five Games records, nothing in the National Stadium later could match it for drama.

Yet a number of big names and nations lost their titles.

European 100-meter champion Darren Campbell led England to a 4x100 meter relay victory over Canada and beat the Canadians' Games record set four years ago.

Dwain Chambers, Marlon Devonish, 200-meter champion Julian Golding and Campell made three good exchanges to stay ahead throughout the race and the European titlist moved away to finish .26 ahead of the Canadian defending champions, who didn't have star sprinters Donovan Bailey, the world record holder and Olympic gold medalist, and Bruny Surin in the lineup.

Australia took the bronze in 38.69.

Jamaica's quartet of Michael McDonald, Roxbert Martin, Gregory Haughton and Davian Clarke became the first relay squad to go under three minutes at the Games with a time of 2:59.03 to take the title away from England.

But the real heroes of the race were the Welsh team who won the bronze after trailing by 20 meters after the first leg.

Paul Gray, a sprint hurdler, was well back when he handed over to 400-meter specialist Jamie Baulch, who ate up the deficit and tore past two runners before handing over to European 200-meter silver medalist Doug Turner.

Turner ran just as good a leg, charging through the field from sixth to hand over to 400-meter titlist Iwan Thomas in third.

Thomas was some 30 meters back on leader Clarke, who was already well clear of England's Mark Richardson, and the Welshman, who also won the European Championship and World Cup, couldn't make up the gap. The English foursome also went under the previous Games mark with 3:00.82 while the Welshmen clocked 3:01.86.

Kenya's Jackline Maranga held off a challenge from defending titlist Kelly Holmes of England to win the 1,500 meters in a Games record 4 minutes, 5.27 seconds. Holmes placed second ahead of Zimbabwe's Julie Sakara.

Laban Rotich then made it seven track titles for Kenya when he pulled away from two English athletes to win the men's 1,500. Rotich, who as fourth at the Atlanta Olympics, clocked 3:39.50, with John Mayock second, .96 behind, and Tony Whiteman third.

Kenyan athletes have also won the men's 800, 5,000, 10,000 and 3,000 meters hurdles and the women's 10,000.

Women's 200-meter champion Nova Peris-Kneebone collected her second gold medal of the Games as the Australians won the 4x100 meter relay in 43.39 seconds ahead of Jamaica and England.

Peris-Kneebone handed a lead over to Sharon Cripps at the final changeover and the Australian held off a late charge by Bridgette Foster to take Australia's 12th track gold.

Tania Van-Heer, who also was on that 4x100 squad, then collected her second gold of the day wen she anchored the Australians to a runaway victory over defending titlist England in the 4x400 relay. Susan Andrews, Tamsyn Lewis and Lee Naylor set her up with a lead for the final leg and she crossed the line in 3:27.28.

Jamaica's Gillian Russell raced home in the women's 100-meter hurdles to win by a quarter-second. She clocked 12.70 while Sri Lanka's Sriani Kulawansha crossed the line in 12.95 for her country's second medal. Canada's Katie Anderson took the bronze.

England's Ashia Hansen, indoor world record holder for the women's triple jump, was the only competitor to leap 14 meters as she made 14.32 to take the first Commonwealth Games gold in the event. Francoise Mbango won Cameroon's first athletics medal here with a leap of 13.95, beating England's Connie Henry by one centimeter.

World champion Marius Corbett beat European titlist, former world record holder and defending champion Steve Backley to take gold in the javelin.

The South African, whose form has been poor since his world title triumph in Athens over a year ago, heaved a Games record 88.75 meters with his second throw to edge Backley, whose best was 87.38.

Another Englishman, Mick Hill, who hasfinished runner-up for the past three Games, this time took the bronze.

South Africa also won the shot, Burger Lambrechts throwing 20.01 meters to take gold ahead of Michalis Louca, who gained a first athletics medal here for Cyprus with a heave of 19.52. Shaun Pickering of Wales placed third with 19.33.


Related information
Jarrett breaks through for hurdles win; Wanjiru wins 10,000 for Kenya
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