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Athletics: Relay hero Devonish hungry for more gold; Sprinter not ready to quit.

Byline: ANDREW MOORHOUSE

MARLON DEVONISH may have the medal-strewn mantel piece to turn the majority of track and field green with envy, but the clock is ticking to complete his dreams.

Devonish ran the third leg of the 4x100m relay team that snatched Athens gold from the seemingly invincible Americans this summer.

Throw in a European Championship relay gold medal and an individual World Championship title and you could be forgiven for thinking the Coventry Godiva Harrier could hang up his spikes tomorrow without a pang of regret.

But at yesterday's London parade for Athens' Olympic and Paralympic heroes, Devonish said: ``I have done everything that needs to be done in the relay -- but I want an individual prize.

``I'm lucky to be World Indoor Champion and I've got medals in the Commonwealth and the Europeans but I haven't got an outdoor World Championship medal.

``An individual medal is definitely in me. ``I've got to get myself disciplined again. But the confidence has been boosted. I'm looking forward to next year and I'm very positive. ''

Just seven weeks after the Greeks stunned the footballing world by taking the Euro 2004 trophy back to Athens against all odds, the British relay quartet produced an equal triumph for teamwork in the very same city.

No pundit basking in the glow of Kelly Holmes' second gold medal success -- achieved just minutes earlier -- gave Jason Gardener, Darren Campbell, Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis a prayer of upstaging the American quartet.

But for Justin Gatlin and Coby Miller's bungled baton change they would have been proved right.

However, on such fine margins are golds won and lost -- and at 22, anchor man Lewis-Francis is young enough to harbour thoughts of triumphing on his own turf in eight years' time.

He said: ``It will probably be my last Olympics so it would be amazing to have it in London and go out in my home town and country. 2012 will be one of the most important things to happen to our country.

``It was my first Olympics and to come home with a gold medal was a great achievement for me. It has spurred me on to go back into training and to push myself a bit harder because I want to taste that again.

``I've always said that my aim was to get a gold medal at the Olympics in 2004 and it happened. My next target is to be the best in the world individually and I believe it can happen. ''

Double-Olympian Holmes can relax in the knowledge she has already reached the top of her particular tree -- but at 34 the former army sergeant is showing no signs of slowing up.

She said: ``It's been manic since coming back and I can't pinpoint one thing I've been up to because I've done so many.

``Being special guest at England versus Wales at Old Trafford was very exciting. When 60, 000 people sung the national anthem there were tears in my eyes.

``The reaction to the parade is a great sign for the Olympic bid. Everyone is now aware of how the British people back their sport. The parade was a reward for all the people who did so well in Athens and for the fans. ''

CAPTION(S):

Double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes in Trafalgar Square yesterday; Picture: DAVID DAVIES
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 19, 2004
Words:555
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