Oyepitan lone light as British sprinters falter

British sprinting encountered the harsh reality of world athletics here last night as Darren Campbell and Christian Malcolm failed to reach today's 200 metres final and Abi Oyepitan finished equal last in the women's 200m final, which was won by Veronica Campbell of Jamaica in 22.05sec.

Oyepitan had already surpassed expectations by becoming the first British woman to reach an Olympic sprint final since Kathy Cook in 1984, but she was never in contention as Campbell was followed home by the 18-year-old US runner Allyson Felix in a world junior record of 22.18sec, with Debbie Ferguson, of the Bahamas, taking bronze in 22.30.

The Briton was unable to reproduce the form that had seen her reduce her personal best to 22.50 in the earlier rounds, but at least by her presence she had ensured that media statements suggesting no British sprinters would reach finals here was, strictly speaking, incorrect.

"I was more fatigued than I thought I would be but I can work on that,' said Oyepitan. "There has been nothing quite like this and hopefully next year in the World Championships I can be even stronger."

No one would have thought a year ago, or even a month ago, that the 24-year-old Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier would be the only UK athlete to make a sprint final here. But her male counterparts have been ravaged by illness or injury in their preparations for these Games. It is fair to say the sprint relay hopes are looking fragile.

Darren Campbell was clearly labouring because of the hamstring injury he suffered a week before the track and field programme got underway, finishing last in 20.89 in a race won easily by Shawn Crawford of the United States in 20.05.

Afterwards, the 2000 Olympic silver medallist reacted strongly to criticism of the British sprinters' preparation made on BBC TV by Colin Jackson and Michael Johnson.

"To be ridiculed like that is disgraceful," he said. "I tore my hamstring but I don't know how to give up. If they want to see the scans they can ­ I don't lie and I don't quit. I spoke to my girlfriend after the first round of the 200m and I was in tears on my bed, and she told me to come home, but I thought I would try the second round, and I made it through to the semis.

"I have been having treatment from 8.30am until 12.30am just to get me on the track and it is only thanks to the medical team that I was out there today. I was hoping to make this my last championships but after a bad Games I cannot leave it like that. I am going to have to re-think and come back in four years."

Malcolm, who had to spend five days in hospital with kidney failure before travelling to Athens, had also done as much as could be expected of him in the circumstances by reaching this stage, and his exit was just as predictable. He finished seventh in 20.77sec.

Allen Johnson, the world 110m hurdles champion, brought his illustrious Olympic career to a crashing conclusion after stumbling on the penultimate barrier in his heat and diving through the last one like a performing dog.

The former Olympic champion, who has also won five world titles in the last nine years, remained prostrate on the track in contemplation of his unfortunate fate, although he looked as if he was struggling to qualify after hitting three previous hurdles. Johnson clattered his way to gold in Atlanta in 1996, running through rather than over most of the barriers. But at 33 he must soon acknowledge an unavoidable truth ­ every dog has his day.

Fani Halkia delivered the Greek nation their Cathy Freeman moment, rising to home expectation and delivering track gold just as the Australian did at the Sydney Games.

Halkia won the 400m hurdles in 52.82sec after pulling away over the final 30 metres from a field which included the desperately struggling world champion, Jana Pittman. The Australian was competing just 17 days after a knee operation after which she was offered only a one per cent chance of reaching the Games by her surgeon. She finished fifth after flagging in the home straight. The packed 70,000 crowd, meanwhile, were flagging madly in their own blue and white fashion.

Halkia's rapid improvement this season ­ she began with a best of 56.40sec ­ raised numerous media queries after her race, but she responded by saying the last winter had been her first injury-free training period since 1998.

Earlier in the evening, the Games were assured of their climactic Olympic confrontation as Kenenisa Bekele and Hicham El Guerrouj, champions here already, made certain of their progress to Saturday's 5,000 metres final, where the Ethiopian's immoveable power and the Moroccan's irresistible acceleration are set to meet in earnest.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
I'm not worried about United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
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