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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 11:00 GMT
Relay dismay for England's women
Tamsyn Lewis (right) and Natasha Danvers-Smith (centre) await the third changeover
Danvers-Smith (centre) should have been behind Lewis (left)
The England women's 4x400m relay team saw a gold medal snatched from their grasp after they were disqualified following their victory in Melbourne.

Kim Wall, Nicola Sanders, Natasha Danvers-Smith and Christine Ohuruogu finished ahead of Australia and India.

But Danvers-Smith took up the wrong position at the changeover for the third leg on the MCG track.

Earlier, Wall helped her 4x100m team-mates Nwanyika Onuora, Laura Turner and Emma Ania win a silver.

With 200m of the second leg remaining in the 4x400 relay, Jamaica led from Australia with England's Sanders in third.

At that point, the athletes on the third leg are told to occupy the corresponding positions on the inside of the track to receive the baton.

However, with Sanders overtaking Australia's Caitlin Willis around the top bend, Danvers-Smith took up a position next to the Jamaican athlete on the inside, rather than outside Australia's third-leg runner, Tamsyn Lewis.

Danvers-Smith said: "I can't believe it. One of the judges says I obstructed Tamsyn but as far as I'm concerned nothing has happened. This is news to me. What is Tamsyn saying, that she was supposed to take the baton ahead of me?

We thought we had finished on a high note but now the girls are absolutely gutted
Team England performance director Brad McStravick

"As far as I'm concerned, England are the 4x400m Commonwealth Games champions."

And she was backed up by Australian Jana Pittman - who ran the first leg and famously had a bitter public row with Lewis before the Games.

She said: "As far as we are concerned they won the gold medal. They set the fastest time of the day and England are the winners of the race."

Brad McStravick, performance director of Team England, implied Australia's protest was against the spirit of the rules.

"The rules are the rules," he said. "It's up to another country if they want to apply them and Australia have decided to do that. We have fallen prey to that and it's very disappointing.

"Unfortunately we thought we had finished on a high note but now the girls are absolutely gutted."

The 4x100m silver success came a day after the men's quartet failed to advance from the heats due to a botched changeover.

They clocked a time of 43.43 seconds to finish second behind Jamaica, with Australia taking bronze.

Sheri-Ann Brooks and Sherone Simpson won their second golds of the Games with Brooks running a strong second leg to put Jamaica in control before Simpson stormed home for a time of 43.10.

In the women's pole vault, Kym Howe of Australia set a new Games record of 4.62m to take the gold medal.

The 25-year-old saw off defending champion and previous Games record-holder Tatiana Grigorieva of Australia, with Canada's Stephanie McCann third.

Links to more Commonwealth Games stories



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