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ATHLETICS: Double relay triumph boosts the British gold medal haul to seven.


BRITAIN'S golden boys of the track rounded off a successful European Championships in style yesterday.

Both the men's 4x100 and 4x400 metres relay squads roared to victory at the Olympic Stadium.

Sprint quartet Dwain Chambers, Marlon Devonish, Darren Campbell and Christian Malcolm ran the fastest time in the world this year of 38.19 sec to beat the Ukraine and Poland.

In the 4x400 Daniel Caines, Jamie Baulch, Matt Elias and Jared Deacon swept to success in rain-soaked Munich.

But for Campbell, disqualified from the 200m after winning bronze in the 100m, there were mixed feelings because of the death of his grandfather.

He said: "My mum rang me to say he had passed away in Jamaica. He was in his 70s and we knew he was dying but it was still a shock.

"I'd like to thank all the rest of the guys, who kept me going. It's all been very emotional, particularly as I was also worried about my hamstring injury."

There were no worries in the actual race, though, with the front three setting up 100m champion Chambers to charge to his second gold in style.

The British team ended the championships with seven golds, a figure equalled only by Russia, and Chambers declared: "It proved we were all capable of handling two big events in the space of a fortnight after the Commonwealth."

There was drama in the 400m relay when the German runner fell on the second leg.

Britain were lying in third place at the stagger but Elias, gutted after missing out on the 400m hurdles final, produced a repeat of his storming leg for Wales at the Commonwealth to take the lead.

Fellow Welshman Baulch kept the advantage of a few metres before handing over to Caines who had been disappointed after finishing third in the individual event.

The Birmingham-based runner kept his composure in the dying metres as the Russian closed to maintain Britain's hold on the relay event.

Elias celebrated by walking on his hands on the rain-sodden track while Baulch did forward somersaults.

Baulch said: "I saw them all tangle and the German fall, it made me feel horrible. I hate running from the front and I was cursing Matt for handing over to me in that position.

"But it was a great victory for us and one we felt was possible. I am delighted for Daniel getting a gold medal after just losing out in the final.

"Everybody keeps talking about split times. In a relay race they are totally irrelevant, what matters is that we get the baton around without any problems.

"Out there we showed all of those qualities."

Poland were later disqualified with France moving up to the bronze medal.

Glasgow's Lee McConnell narrowly failed to win another medal at the European Championships.

The 23-year-old, who took bronze over 400m on Thursday, ran a brilliant final leg for Britain in the 4x400 relay but despite making up 10m could not go all the way.

McConnell said: "I thought I was going to do it at one point but the gap stayed the same in the last 200m."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 12, 2002
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