Student Sport: Danvers impresses in heats

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The Independent Online
THE QUEST for the "new Linford" having been amply satisfied by the recent performances of Darren Campbell, Dwaine Chambers and Jason Gardener, the search for a "new Sally" is beginning to look more successful too.

Yesterday, during the first athletics heats at the World Student Games here, Natasha Danvers and Sinead Dudgeon both cruised through their first- round 400 metres hurdle races.

Danvers, 21, from Croydon, was a comfortable 56.53 seconds winner, while Dudgeon, 23 today, was second in the next heat in 56.66. Only Daymi Permia of Cuba, who beat Dudgeon, ran faster than both the Britons.

Danvers struck a confident note for today's semi-final and tomorrow's final: "I'm not worried by any of the other girls I have seen here. They were all running season's bests just to qualify."

Since the retirement three years ago of Sally Gunnell, the former World and Olympic 400m hurdles champion, the British women's distance runners have had a tough time, but it is now other 400m hurdlers who are making strides.

Many thought that Allison Curbishley, the winner of the 400m flat title at the last World Student Games two years ago, might become Gunnell's natural successor, but injury has delayed her hurdling. Instead, it has been Dudgeon and Danvers who have grasped at Gunnell's standard.