Commonwealth Games: England's sprint hopes lifted by Collins' exit

England's prospects of earning the 100 metres sprint medal that eluded them four years ago in Manchester improved significantly yesterday when Kim Collins, who saw off the challenge of the sprinters Mark Lewis-Francis and Dwayne Chambers four years ago, withdrew from the 18th Commonwealth Games because of an injury.

Collins's absence only came to light during yesterday's opening ceremony when he was not among the parading competitors from St Kitts and Nevis.

Collins was an unheralded champion in Manchester four years ago in a final which saw Lewis-Francis suffer a pulled hamstring and Chambers - who has since been given a two-year ban for doping offences - hampered by cramp.

The presence here of Jamaica's world record holder, Asafa Powell, seeking his first major title, meant that the unassuming Collins was not regarded as being the favourite in the sprint event. But his record indicates that he would have been a strong medal contender.

Life therefore becomes a shade easier for Lewis-Francis, whose form has dipped since an impressive victory in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, and Jason Gardener, who gave up the chance of defending his world indoor 60m title in Moscow last weekend in order to seek a first major outdoor medal in the individual event. Both will still have their work cut out to compete with Powell and his Jamaican colleague Michael Frater, not to mention the young Trinidadian who earned a bronze medal at the 2003 World Championships, Darrel Brown.

A few hours before the Queen had taken her seat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where the opening and closing ceremonies as well as the track and field programme are taking place, England were saying goodbye to a strong gold medal prospect as Beth Tweddle, expected to contest the overall gymnastics title with the home athlete Monette Russo, had to withdraw from the competition after injuring her right ankle during warm-up.

The 20-year-old Cheshire athlete was taken from the arena in a wheelchair after landing awkwardly from a vault and a scan revealed ligament damage which will prevent her from adding to the gold medal she won four years ago in Manchester on the asymmetric bars.

"As soon as I did it I knew there was something wrong," said Tweddle, who has also won two world bronze medals in her specialist discipline. "I knew as soon as I took off on the vault it didn't feel right on the board. As soon as the impact hit me my coach pulled me to one side to have a medical examination.

"This is a big disappointment. I have been looking forward to competing here and I've been working hard towards this for six months. As the captain I will be staying to cheer the others on and keep their spirits high. I will leave my disappointment behind and concentrate on supporting them."

The 12-year-old aiming to put Vanuatu on the map

There is a new face at the 18th Commonwealth Games. You will see it at one end of a table tennis table, but only just, as Yoshua Shing, a 12-year-old prodigy from the South Pacific island Vanuatu, is only 4ft 11in tall.

Shing's achievement in being selected for these Games appears even greater for the fact that there are only four table tennis tables in the whole of Vanuatu, a tiny island nation of about 206,000 people lying halfway between Hawaii and Australia. But already the youngest competitor here has managed to reach a level of attainment that has earned him appearances in the World Cadet Championships and made him a celebrity back home.

Shing was invited to China by a wealthy businessman to hone his skill and prepare for the games. "I can't believe there are so many good players there," he said. "I need to practise more if I want to be good."

And he has already discovered one of the delights of the Athletes' Village... he loves the beef sausages.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power