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.

News
One Direction's Zayn Malik gazes at a bouquet of flowers in the 'Night Changes' music video
people
News
people
News
'Free the Nipple' film screening after party with We Are The XX, New York, America - 04 Feb 2014
news
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May