Macey and Oyepitan raise spirits for Britain

The morning after the night before - after Paula Radcliffe's tearful marathon exit, after Phillips Idowu's failure to get a distance on the board in the triple jump final, after the conspicuous absence of a British sprinter from the men's 100m final - there was a ray of sunshine for the track and field branch of Team GB in the Athenian Olympic Stadium.

The morning after the night before - after Paula Radcliffe's tearful marathon exit, after Phillips Idowu's failure to get a distance on the board in the triple jump final, after the conspicuous absence of a British sprinter from the men's 100m final - there was a ray of sunshine for the track and field branch of Team GB in the Athenian Olympic Stadium.

Dean Macey would have provided a shaft of it by his presence alone, and the charismatic Canvey Islander got to grips with the opening session of the decathlon with typically refreshing zeal - and not a little success. It was the young Londoner Abi Oyepitan, though, who shone brightest in a Great Britain vest in the morning session yesterday.

Britain's male speed merchants might have gone into neutral this summer, if not reverse, but Oyepitan is threatening to take British women's sprinting into the global fast lane for the first time since Kathy Cook hung up her racing spikes in 1986.

Having missed the cut for the 100m final by just one place, the 24-year-old Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier gathered further momentum with a scorchingly quick run in the first round of the 200m.

Competing in heat four, Oyepitan stuck close to the heels of Allyson Felix, the teenage sensation who has been rewriting Marion Jones's age-group records in the United States, and was rewarded with a time of 22.50sec - an improvement of 0.19sec on her previous best, and a performance bettered on the British all-time ranking list only by Cook's 20-year-old national record, 22.10sec.

Only Felix, with 22.39sec, and Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands, with 22.40sec, managed faster times, putting Oyepitan ahead of such sprinting luminaries as Merlene Ottey and Christine Arron. Joice Maduaka also made it through to the quarter-finals, albeit with a more modest 23.15sec.

By the standards Macey set as a medallist at the 1999 and 2001 World Championships, his opening effort in the decathlon was modest, too. Then again, having endured three years on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and scraped into the British team with a last-ditch qualifying score at Hexham, of all places, his 10.89sec 100m run was really something to shout about.

It was half a second faster than the 26-year-old man had managed at Hexham, and it gave him a solid enough foothold in the 39-strong competition, with 885 points in 15th place. It also happened to be bang on the button of Macey's declared target, and it was followed by an even more impressive long jump.

Taking just one of his permitted three attempts, to avoid aggravating the still-troublesome hamstring, he broke the sand at 7.47m and moved up to ninth place overall. Better things were to come, too, in the shot put.

Venturing within 4cm of his lifetime best with a distance of 15.73m, Macey moved up again in the standings. After three events, he was lying seventh with 2,647 points - 140 points behind the medal positions, occupied by Bryan Clay of the United States, Dmitriy Karpov of Kazakhstan, and the world record holder, Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
News
Cumberbatch spectacularly photobombs U2 at the Oscars
news
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

News
Will menus with calorie counts really deter junk-food addicts from eating junk?
i100
Sport
Today's Liverpool Echo back page
football
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?