Commonwealth Games: Oakes bridges 12-year gap in golden return: Augee overhauled by bitter rival while throw of a lifetime nails heptathlon

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The Independent Online
JUDY OAKES, who officially retired in 1991, regained the Commonwealth Games shot putt title, here yesterday after a 12-year gap, then launched a bid to be awarded another gold medal. After beating her team-mate Myrtle Augee with a throw of 18.16 metres, the 36-year- old Londoner used the victory as a platform to campaign to try to have the Australian Gael Martin retrospectively banned.

Martin won the 1986 title in Edinburgh, when Oakes was second, but subsquently admitted under oath that she had used steroids throughout her career. She also denied Oakes an Olympic bronze medal in Los Angeles 10 years ago. Martin was twice suspended for failing drug tests, first in 1980 and again eight years later while competing in power-lifting.

Oakes has written to Prince Edward, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, asking him to investigate the situation. She has also contacted Princess Anne, a member of the International Olympic Committee. 'Prince Edward has been very supportive,' Oakes said. 'It's unfair when clean athletes are beaten by people who are using drugs.'

There is a precedent. Three years ago, Ben Johnson was stripped of his 1987 world 100m title after he failed a test at the 1988 Olympics.

Oakes's win extended her remarkable record of consistency. She won her first medal, a bronze, in Edmonton 16 years ago. She won in Brisbane in 1982 and also finished second in Auckland four years ago to Augee.

Yvonne Murray's long awaited move up to 10,000m proved worthwhile. In the absence of the two- time winner Liz McColgan, who is injured, Murray kept the title in Scotland. She beat Alana Meyer, of South Africa, with a performance that promises so much for the future. Murray did to Meyer what Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan has been doing to her all season over 3,000m.

Having let Meyer do all the donkey work in a race where tempers nearly boiled over because it was so physical, Murray took off with 500m left. She covered the last lap in under 65 seconds to win in 31min 56.98sec - nearly two minutes faster than the last time she ran the distance nine years ago when she as lapped twice by Norway's Ingrid Kristiansen, who set a world record. Meyer was unhappy with Murray's tactics of running so close to her and appeared to elbow her on more than one occasion. 'Now I know why Liz McColgan gets so upset when she races Yvonne,' she said.

Rob Denmark, who has received more than one battering at the hands of the Kenyans in the last three years, got his own back when he won the 5,000m. The Basildon runner launched a ferocious kick with 120 metres to go to pass the world junior cross-country champion, Phillip Mosima, to win in 13min 23sec. Since then, he has also won a silver medal at the Europpean Championships. John Nuttall, from Preston, won the bronze in 13:23.54.

To complete a good day for England, on the track at least, Simon Shirley won a bronze medal in the decathlon. Michael Smith, of Canada, retained his title.

But in one of the biggest surprises here so far, Denise Lewis (occupation: Wolverhampton secretary) dethroned Jane Flemming (occupation: Australian golden girl) as Commonwealth heptathlon champion.

Lewis, who scored a personal best of 6,325 points to 6,317 for Flemming, had come hoping for a medal, but the form book said she could not expect to win. It was the javelin, the fifth of the seven events, that nailed the victory for the Englishwoman. Her throw of 53.68m was nearly 18 metres further than that of anyone else and a personal best by six metres.

This defeat could have repercussions for Flemming. Australia's silver girl does not have the same ring to it. Her bank manager may end up spilling as many tears as Flemming did when she appeared before the Australian press.

In yesterday's heats of the 200 metres, John Regis showed he is over the Achilles injury which kept him out of the Europeans two weeks ago. He reached tomorrow's final with a Games record of 20.36sec. Sally Gunnell cruised through to the final of the 400m hurdles, and did not need to run any quicker than 55.25sec to do it.