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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 March 2006, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Melbourne highs and lows
Commonwealth decathlon champion Dean Macey
Macey finally clinched a major title
About 4,500 athletes have taken part in 21 different sporting disciplines and nearly 750 medals have been won, but the 2006 Commonwealth Games have now drawn to a close.

BBC Sport takes a look back at the Melbourne spectacle by asking athletes and pundits for their highs and lows of the Games.


SUE BARKER - BBC HOST PRESENTER

High: The MCG - it's the best sporting arena I've been in and all the athletes agree it's better than at Sydney with a better atmosphere despite it not being an Olympics.

I must mention Dean Macey's interviews on day one and two of the decathlon as well. They were legendary and he certainly gets the interviewers' gold medal. I don't think he drew breath for three-and-a-half minutes as he spilled out his life story.

Low: The dropped baton by England's sprint relay team was the obvious one. That was the last straw - not just for English sprinting but for the home nations, none of which have done that well on the track.

Special mention: I loved the ovation the crowd gave to Papua New Guinea's Sapolai Yao in the men's 3,000m steeplechase. He finished almost a minute-and-a-half behind the winner, but the MCG gave him the biggest roar of the night for a non-Australian.

SIMON BROTHERTON - FIVE LIVE CYCLING COMMENTATOR

Victoria Pendleton (right) pips Anna Meares in the women'ssprint
Pendleton (right) won gold by a whisker
High: I'd have to say Victoria Pendleton winning the women's sprint.

She'd already picked up a time trial silver medal and, in the best-of-three tussle in the sprint against Anna Meares, she came out on top although only by the thickness of a tyre. I honestly couldn't tell for the first two seconds after they'd crossed the line, it was so close.

Low: The men's kilometre time trial was a bit disappointing in the end. All the talk had been about Scotland, with Chris Hoy, against England, with Jason Queally, and an Aussie, in Ben Kersten, suddenly popped up and pipped them both.

Special mention: I was at the MCG the night the Papua New Guinean was cheered across the line. The noise was deafening and it was a top moment.

SHARRON DAVIES - BBC SWIMMING PUNDIT

High: It's got to be England's men's 4x200m relay win. I was jumping up and down at the side of the pool it was so exciting. It was such a great race. And, as with every British victory, I got to congratulate them first in my interview spot, which is brilliant.

Low: Nothing springs to mind - it's been a great Games for everybody and I'm really pleased for all the British swimmers after what they achieved.

Special mention: It's sort of to do with the relay I mentioned before. That just proved what an astonishing strength in depth there is in British swimming especially in the men's and hopefully they can carry that forward.

HAZEL IRVINE - BBC PRESENTER

Chris Baillie celebrates his silver medal in men's 110m hurdles
Hurdler Baillie - an emerging talent
High: The first 15 minutes of the opening ceremony showcasing the whole of Melbourne from the Yarra river to the MCG.

In terms of the sport, the highlight for me was the youngsters coming through - Louis Smith taking gold on the pommel horse, Jessica Ennis starring in the heptathlon, hurdler Chris Baillie, swimmer Hannah Miley and the Isle of Man's Mark Cavendish in the cycling.

Low: Martyn Bernard in the high jump. He really wanted to try to jump for gold but was not allowed by over-zealous officials. I just sat there really wanting to help from the sidelines but there was nothing I could do.

Special mention: The second Australian in the women's marathon, Kate Smythe, showed wonderful spirit to stagger over the line when you could see she was terribly dehydrated.

MICHAEL JOHNSON - 200M AND 400M WORLD RECORD HOLDER

High: Christine Ohuruogu winning gold for England in the 400m. I've watched her over the years and from the first time I saw her run, I thought she had incredible talent.

Marlon Devonish walks away from Mark Lewis-Francis after the England sprint team's relay howler
Every single relay had an error of some sort in it and that is not good enough

She came through three rounds here and she had put it all together, got consistent and produced a winning time and performance against the best in the world.

Low: The most disappointing thing for me was all the dropped batons and mix-ups in the relays.

Every single relay had an error of some sort in it and that is not good enough. I think the reason for that is because most athletes are still rusty in March and cannot gel together.

DEAN MACEY - COMMONWEALTH DECATHLON CHAMPION

High: Give me a minute - that's a tough one. Seriously, though, winning my first major title after so many setbacks was amazing. I was even lost for words initially, which as my family will tell is very hard to do - almost impossible in fact.

Low: That's an easy one - the hangover two days after the event. I didn't really go out the night of my win, although spent the whole night waking up every time I moved as my body hurt so much. But the following night I went out with my family and we got lashed. I felt pretty rough and tired the next day.

Special mention: Everyone who came out here to be honest, but it was great to see Kelly Sotherton win the gold in the heptathlon.

RICHIE WOODHALL - EX-SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION

High: You could highlight most of the British boxers but, for me, it was Frankie Gavin. He boxed at a canter to win the gold medal but his semi-final win against Leonard Zappavigna was a class apart.

Frankie Gavin
Gavin took gold in the lightweight division

That was the most complete performance I saw at these Games, in fact the most complete performance by a British fighter for a long time.

Low: Seeing England's Darran Langley slump to his knees after his final defeat was absolutely dreadful viewing. The kid was inconsolable. He was good enough to win that gold, and he knew it, but he just lost his way a little bit.

Special mention: Jamie Degale might not have won a medal out here but he really impressed me - the all-round package of that kid looks great. Expect big things from him and hopefully he can match or improve on his Commonwealth bronze in Beijing.





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