Commonwealth Games 2002: ENGLAND RUN DOWN; Triple sprint bid ends in disaster.
ENGLAND'S dreams of sprint glory were dashed last night as their top medal hopes were crocked as they raced for gold.
Dwain Chambers and Mark Lewis-Francis' dreams became a nightmare when both were hit by injury.
They could only look on in anguish as Caribbean crack Kim Collins left them and the rest of the field trailing as he sped to a stunning 100 metres victory in Manchester.
Chambers pulled up clutching his hamstring about 30 metres from the end and Lewis-Francis also suffered an injury and crashed onto the track before being carried away on a stretcher.
Collins took the title for St Kitts and Nevis in a national record 9.98 seconds, with Nigeria's Uchenna Emedolu second in 10.11 and Pierre Browne of Canada third in 10.12.
Bath's Jason Gardener finished sixth in 10.22secs but the night will always be remembered for the way the English sprint stars' challenge ended in sensational fashion.
Lewis-Francis looked to be in contention until pain was etched on his face and he crashed to the ground just as he crossed the line.
The 19-year-old lay prone for a couple of minutes before bein carried off the track.
Chambers had another horror start and in trying to force his way back seemingly felt his hamstring snap just fractions of a second after the same fate befell his rival.
The 24-year-old Londoner was left clutching his thigh as he limped across the line after seeing his hopes of claiming his first major title in ruins.
Jubilant Collins reckoned both of his rivals had buckled under the pressure heaped on them.
He said: "They were under a lot of pressure and that's the disadvantage of being a member of the home team.
"They were under so much pressure from the fans and the media."
Although Gardner was last, he admitted he was delighted just to have made the final.
But he agreed with Collins' view that his team-mates fell victim to high home expectations.
Gardener said: "They had been in fantastic shape all season. People have been saying 'Dwain or Mark - which is is going to be'. But you can never underestimate the other finalists.
"It's tragic to see them both injured but all credit to Kim. He ran under 10 seconds - he did what had to be done."
The women's 100m was won by Debbie Ferguson, who ran her best ever 10.91 secs to snap up the title for the Bahamas.
Jamaica's Veronica Campbell was second in 11.0 secs, also a personal best, and Sevatheda Fynes of the Bahamas won bronze in 11.07.
Ferguson and Fynes were both members of the gold medal- winning 4x100 meters relay team at the Sydney Olympics.
Ferguson said: "I never expected to go this fast here. Now I've got all three, a gold medal, a Commonwealth record and a personal best. I couldn't be happier."
Scot Jamie Quarry lies second overnight in the decathlete - but could have gone one better after a controversial foul decision in the long jump.
The London-based school teacher hurled himself to his best jump with his first - only to see it ruled out despite their being no marks in the plasticine.
His third leap of 7.16m was still the third best of the day, but Quarry's troubles had started earlier in the first event of the 10 discipline schedule - the 100m - as he slept in the blocks.
He eventually picked up but crossed the line down on his 10.82s best with 11.12s - joint fourth with Australian Matt McEwan.
He finally hit top form in the shot with a third round personal best of 14.68m. That put him into second overall behind Jamaican Claston Bernard - just 52 points down on 2456.
Sinead Dudgeon continued to struggle to find top form in the 400m hurdles.
Early-season tendon problems ruined her training programme and it still shows. Yesterday she started well but ran out of steam, still winning through to the final as a fastest loser in 57.11s.
Glasgow's Lee McConnell won through to the final of the 400m, finishing first in her semi in 51.29secs - her fastest ever and the fastest of the day.
Susan Scott, the national 800m champion, set the pace in her heat before she eventually lost out to Olympic and World champion Maria Mutolla.
England collected their second medal in the gymnastics with the women's team adding a silver to the gold won by the men 24 hours earlier. Hot favourites Australia took gold.
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jul 28, 2002|
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