There had been no time for Gunnell to fling up her arms on crossing the line as she had when taking her Olympic 400 metres hurdles title last summer. The Essex athlete entered the last 40 metres at the World Championships in Stuttgart last night behind Sandra Farmer-Patrick but forced the pace to lunge home for gold. Afterwards she said: 'I just can't believe it. After such a brilliant year last year, I didn't know whether I could do it again. I really got myself hyped up. All my dreams have come true. I knew I was in the sort of shape to break the world record and that I would run whatever I had to do to win. All I wanted to do was to win. The world record is just a bonus.'
Britain's first gold medal came on Sunday when Linford Christie won the 100 metres in 9.87sec.
Results, page 31; reports, page 32