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Successful return for Williams-Darling at IAAF World Cup

19 September 2006

By Gary Smith

Bahamian World and Olympic champion Tonique Williams-Darling made a surprise comeback to the track and helped the Americas team win gold in the women's 4x400-metres relay at the 10th IAAF World Cup in Athletics in the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece on Sunday.

After picking up an injury at the Reebok meeting in New York earlier this season and several unsuccessful attempts to make a comeback, Williams-Darling stepped on the track to the delight of her fans, and ran an impressive second leg on team Americas world-leading winning 1600m relay side.

A relatively modest start from Shericka Williams, one of the two Jamaicans on the team, paved the way for Williams-Darling to end her season on a high. She collected the baton in second position and timed her run to perfection.

Though giving a little more room on the inside to American Monique Henderson in the home straight than usual, the Bahamian managed to compose herself and open up a small gap, which the Americas team maintained all the way to the finish.

Two years ago at the stadium Williams-Darling became the first Bahamian woman to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games and she was excited to make a winning return.

"I'm very happy to be back in Athens," said Williams-Darling, the number seven ranked runner in the 400 on the IAAF World Ranking list.

The Americans were the pre-competition favourite, but the Caribbean quarter-miler said the best team won on the day.

"We were the best (team here) and it showed," she said as she celebrated with her teammates.

Jamaican national record holder Novlene Williams ran a sizzling 49.6 final leg, to ensure Americas defended the title they won in Madrid, Spain in 2002. Of the winning team only Amertil, who again ran the third leg on Sunday was part of the victorious Madrid side.

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