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Williams-Darling confirmed for Commonwealth Games

28 February 2006

Tonique Williams-Darling Tonique Williams-Darling
Bahamian World and Olympic champion Tonique Williams-Darling has announced that she will be competing at next month's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.

After weeks of speculation, the Olympic and World 400m champion confirmed with the Bahamian Athletic Federation that she will try to emulate her hero Cathy Freeman and chase the only gold medal not yet in her possession.

It is still uncertain as to whether the 30-year-old will compete at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Moscow, but she made it clear what her intentions were at this point. "I decided to focus on Australia. I've got to go to the Commonwealths," Williams-Darling said.

"I informed my federation this week that my training indicates I am ready to compete in next month's Commonwealth Games."

"I've heard quite a lot about Melbourne's reputation as a great sports town. Australians know a thing or two about great 400 women."

"I was in Sydney and watched with admiration as an entire country embraced Cathy Freeman's inspirational victory. If my quest for Commonwealth gold is met with just a fraction of the support that Cathy received, I will be forever thankful."

Despite her difficulties last season, Williams-Darling managed power past pre-event favourite Sanya Richards of the USA in the final stretch to capture the women's 400-meter dash at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

In one of the most thrilling races at the World Championships, the Bahamian added the World title to the Olympic crown she won in Athens 2004, which means the Commonwealth Games gold is the only missing link to match Freeman's record.

Williams-Darling has her eyes set on a golden departure from Melbourne, but she said, "I hope Cathy can give me a medal if I win one. I'm one of her biggest fans."

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