STEVE MONEGHETTI, a year ago so disillusioned with marathon running he considered retiring, won the Commonwealth Games title yesterday. England's Mark Hudspith finished third - the first British man to win a marathon medal in a major championship for 10 years.
After bad experiences in the heat and humidity of Tokyo and Barcelona at the 1991 World Championships and 1992 Olympics, when he finished 11th and 48th respectively, the Australian lost confidence. But a series of good races, including winning in Tokyo in February, convinced him to carry on.
It led to this victory in 2hr 11min 49sec. Moneghetti now has the full set of Commonwealth medals. In Edinburgh in 1986, he finished third. In Auckland four years ago, second. 'When there was a group of three of us together I was thinking I don't want bronze again. Then when there were two, I don't want another silver,' Moneghetti said.
The gold medal had his name on it from 21 miles when he snapped the resistance of Nicolas Kioko, of Kenya, and Hudspith. The further Moneghetti went the faster he ran. His quickest five kilometres split of 15min 16sec came between 30 and 35 kilometres.
The rain and lack of humidity made conditions more conducive to marathon running than they normally are in major championships. 'The weather was great. It was like Ballarat back home,' Moneghetti said. It did not matter how hard it rained though. He never took off his sunglasses. Dollars have to be earned some way in a major championship.
Hudspith must also have thought he was back running in Fawdon, near Newcastle, when he saw the weather. Ironically, he had been preparing for the heat by training in a tracksuit. In 1966, his coach Jim Alder won this title for Scotland on a hot day in Kingston, Jamaica. 'When I came here this morning my mouth was dry and stomach knotted,' Alder said.
Hudspith, competing in only the second marathon of his life, had a point to make to the selectors. Runners with slower personal bests than his 2hr 12min 52sec were picked ahead of him for this event and the European Championships. The 25-year-old was only added to England's team in June when money to send more competitors became available.
He won and lost the silver medal in the last mile and a half. Firstly, he passed the tiring Kioko, only for the fast finishing Australian Sean Quilty to come home stronger. Hudspith's time was 2hr 15min 11sec.
The last Briton to win a medal in a major championship was another north-easterner, Charlie Spedding, who took bronze in the 1984 Olympics. 'Mark's a championship runner,' Alder said. 'He won't chase the money.'
In bowls singles finals which looked more like a home international championship than the Commonwealth Games Richard Corsie, of Scotland, and Margaret Johnston, of Northern Ireland, finished victorious. Corsie beat England's Tony Allcock 25-20 while Johnston defeated Rita Jones, of Wales, 25-20 to recapture the women's title she first won in Edinburgh eight years ago.
Bradford's Yvonne McGregor, who was hospitalised earlier in the Games after collapsing with breathing problems during a road race, took the gold medal with a brilliant debut ride in the 25km road race. McGregor has also taken a bronze in the team time trial after falling off her bike.
McGregor outwitted the pack when she launched a lone attack after 10km and she lapped the field three circuits later.
The Commonwealth 100 metres champion Linford Christie was defeated by his American rival Jon Drummond at an IAAF meeting in Rieti, Italy yesterday. Christie clocked 10.06sec to Drummond's 9.99. Christie ran 9.91 when he won the Commonwealth title in Canada last Tuesday. Colin Jackson, the Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion, succeeded where his friend Christie failed by overcoming the challenges of the American duo Alan Johnson and Tony Dees. But Jackson, who clocked 13.07sec on the wind-assisted track, was not satisfied with his performance and said: 'I came straight from the Commonwealth Games and my legs were still heavy. I was happy with my time but not with how I ran. I was all over the place right from the beginning.'
On Saturday, Wales won an unexpected second gold medal thanks to the 20-year-old pole vaulter, Neil Winter.Reuse content