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Relay blunder stuns England

24 March 2006
icteesside.icnetwork.co.uk

Defending champions England crashed out of the 4x100 metres relay in Melbourne Defending champions England crashed out of the 4x100 metres relay in Melbourne
Defending champions England embarrassingly crashed out of the 4x100 metres relay at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne today.

Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis failed to exchange the baton on the final takeover after Lewis-Francis appeared to set off too early.

It summed up a disastrous Games for the sprinters with Devonish last in the 100m final and no British representative in the 200m final for the first time since 1966.

Lewis-Francis was also disqualified from the heats of the 100m for a false start, Darren Campbell disqualified from the 200m for running outside his lane, and Christian Malcolm and Jason Gardener flew home early through injury.

A frustrated Campbell, smarting from critical comments by Michael Johnson, said: "It is a reality check for everybody.

"There can't be any more excuses. We win together and lose together but it's all messed up.

"Michael (Johnson) has some valid points and it is time for us all to step up."

An emotional Campbell continued: "We're a good team and we'll take everything that's thrown at us. It's life and we take it."

"Winning the relay would only have glossed over the problems that we've got."

Lewis-Francis said: "We just didn't get the baton and this isn't our championships. I feel sorry for Darren, Andy and Marlon but hopefully we can now go to the Europeans and do there what we haven't done here."

Johnson, summarising for BBC1, responded: "They (British sprinters) have lost the hunger. Drastic measures are needed. They need to break up the system - it rewards mediocrity."

England's Andrew Frost was fourth in the hammer, with team-mates Mick Jones and Simon Bown fifth and sixth respectively.

In the women's 800m, Kenya's Janeth Jepkosgei took gold, with Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica second and Maria Mutola third.

Scotland's Susan Scott was fourth, with England's Jemma Simpson sixth and team-mate Marilyn Okoro seventh.



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