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.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
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

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone