Commonwealth Games: Robinson and Yelling win bronze as Gardener makes exit
Monday 20 March 2006
Two bronze medals - from the marathon runners Dan Robinson and Liz Yelling - gave England cause for satisfaction on the opening day of the track and field programme here yesterday. But there was gloomier news in the javelin, where Goldie Sayers failed to live up to expectations in finishing fifth, and the 100 metres, where the team captain, Jason Gardener, hampered by a back injury, failed in his second round heat.
"This is awesome. I've dreamt of this since the last Commonwealths in Manchester where I came fourth in the 10,000 metres," said Yelling, who had received a text message of support before the race from her Bedford clubmate Paula Radcliffe.
The race winner, Kerryn McCann, the 39-year-old defending champion, received a tumultuous welcome from a 76,500 crowd as she outsprinted Kenya's Hellen Cherono over the final lap to win in 2hr 30min 54sec before performing a lap of honour hand-in-hand with her six-year-old son.
Yelling clocked 2:32.19 and was followed home by Tracey Morris, running for Wales, who achieved a personal best of 2:33.13 despite having only recently recovered from an Achilles tendon operation she underwent on 17 July.
Like Morris, who earned Olympic selection two years ago after improving her London marathon time by over an hour, Robinson, who was timed at 2hr 14min 50sec in a race won by Tanzania's Samson Ramadhani Nyonyi in 2:11.29, is a late starter in the sport.
He only took up competitive running in 1998 after finding he could run well on a treadmill after joining a gym to lose some weight. "It was a pretty good moment - a pretty good stadium to finish in," Robinson said. "Finishing at the Athens Olympics was something, but this was better."
Robinson sacrificed a lucrative run in next month's London marathon to compete here for nothing. Gardener, too, made a purist stand, passing up $40,000 (£23,000) for the defence of his world indoor 60m title last weekend. Sadly, his gamble failed.
"I ran at 80 per cent in the first heat," he said. "In the second round the other guys were just too good and I couldn't expect to do the same."
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