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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Triple medal joy for James
Vernicha James celebrates her gold medal in the 200m in Kingston
Vernicha James stormed to victory in the 200m
Belgrave Harriers' Vernicha James sprinted her way to three medals at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica.

The 18-year-old won gold in the 200m, then helped the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team grab silver in the 4x400m relay and bronze in the 4x100m relay.

The team's relay successes were all the more impressive as it was the first time British squads have won medals in both girls' relays at world level.


We have under-achieved with women over the last 20 years
Max Jones
UK Athletics

James followed in the speedy footprints of Commonwealth Games' gold medal hopefuls Christian Malcolm and Mark Lewis-Francis by taking gold at the World Juniors.

Malcolm won the 100m and 200m at the 1998 Championships in France while current AAA Champion Lewis-Francis won the 100m title in Chile during 2000.

James has run quicker over 200m than any senior British woman managed either last season and this summer.

She linked up with fellow Belgrave Harrier Amy Spencer, Basildon's Kim Wall and Cambridge Harriers' Lisa Miller to finish second to the USA in the 4x400m in a new UK Junior record of 3mins 30.46secs.

And she and Spencer joined forces with Jade Lucas-Read and Jeanette Kwakye to claim third in the 4x100m in 44.22 seconds, just six hundredths of a second outside the UK record.


UK Athletics performance director Max Jones said he was delighted at the success of the girls team after many lean years, citing Lottery cash as a major reason.

"Men historically tend to get better sponsorship contracts and deals abroad, so Lottery money will make a more significant difference to women," he said.

"We have under-achieved with women over the last 20 years. If they can get parity, just watch them go."

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