Evans erases Atlanta misery with silver

Tom Evans was seized by
déjà vu as he approached the final straight of the 20 kilometres road race in Centennial Park yesterday. Four years ago he came off his bike at 30mph as he sprinted down a hill towards the finish line, just behind the race leader. He was unconscious for 20 minutes and spent three days in hospital.

Tom Evans was seized by déjà vu as he approached the final straight of the 20 kilometres road race in Centennial Park yesterday. Four years ago he came off his bike at 30mph as he sprinted down a hill towards the finish line, just behind the race leader. He was unconscious for 20 minutes and spent three days in hospital.

Yesterday the 28-year-old from Corby finished in one piece and walked away with the silver medal that would have been his in Atlanta. Evans - who completed the course in 44min 3sec, just behind Daniel Nicholson of the United States - was ecstatic.

"Winning a Paralympic medal is my dream," he said. "I wanted gold, but this will do just fine." Victory was all the sweeter after his disappointing fourth placing on Wednesday in the 5km time trial, his main event, which was won by the Korean, Yong-Sik Jin.

Evans said: "It's some compensation, but it doesn't fully make up for Wednesday. That was supposed to be my top event, but on the day there were three people better than me."

Evans, who races in a cerebral palsy class, suffered a head injury in a motorbike accident 10 years ago which permanently affected his balance and coordination. The events of Atlanta were at the forefront of his mind yesterday as he broke away from the leading pack of six riders.

"This time I made no mistake," he said. "I knew I had the speed to get a medal, so I went earlier and stayed seated in the sprint.

Britain's extraordinary run of Paralympic success continued yesterday with six gold medals. In the equestrian competition, Nicola Tustain won the freestyle dressage event. In the pool, Andrew Lindsay won the 100m backstroke in his disability category, setting a new world record of 1min 16.09sec. James Crisp won the 100m backstroke in a different class, while Vicki Broadribb set a new world mark of 1min 15.46sec in her 50m freestyle category.

On the track, Tanni Grey-Thompson landed her fourth gold of the Games, winning her 400m event in 58.74sec. Hazel Robson took the 100m title in her class in 15.73sec, pushing Caroline Innes - a double gold medallist in Sydney - into second place. Afterwards Innes and Grey-Thompson announced plans to retire, although Grey-Thompson will compete in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

Britain's wheelchair rugby team defeated Germany 41-38 yesterday. The team will not make the semi-finals, but will leave Sydney with an improved world ranking.

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