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Commonwealth Games 2010: Goddard wins backstroke gold

England's James Goddard

Goddard wins gold for England (UK only)

England's James Goddard regained the Commonwealth 200m backstroke title on day three of the Games in Delhi.

But England team-mate Fran Halsall was unable to add women's 100m freestyle gold to her tally, coming home third.

Gemma Spofforth, a favourite for gold in the women's 100m backstroke, took silver behind Aussie Emily Seebohm.

Scotland's Robbie Renwick swam a superb final leg in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay to claim silver for his country, behind the victorious Australians.

Australia also dominated the women's 4x200m freestyle relay with New Zealand claiming a surprise silver, ahead of England in bronze-medal position.

And Australia's Matt Cowdrey set a world record of 25.33 seconds in the Para sport S9 50m freestyle final, as England's Simon Miller won silver and India's Prasanta Karmakar picked up his nation's first-ever swimming medal, taking bronze.

James Goddard came fourth at the Olympic Games in 2004 and didn't do anything in Beijing, but he's a really good talent - he stands out when he gets thing right

Mark Foster, former World and Commonwealth champion

Goddard, who won his first 200m backstroke gold at Manchester 2002, swam a Commonwealth record time of one minute 55.58 seconds to beat New Zealand's Gareth Kean by some distance.

The Stockport 27-year-old set out at a blistering pace and maintained his pace to leave Kean almost two seconds adrift. Australia's Ashley Delaney took bronze.

Goddard's England team-mates Chris Walker-Hebborn and Ryan Bennett finished fourth and eighth respectively, with Welshman Marco Loughran sixth.

"I knew I had a one-minute-55 time in me, but I still think I can go quicker," said Goddard, who missed August's European Championships in Budapest because of a virus.

"I've had a shoulder problem for the last year, it's been playing up for the last few days, and I'm so happy.

"I knew it was going to be quite a tight field. I'm so chuffed with the time."

Halsall, who won 50m butterfly gold earlier in the week, had to settle for 100m freestyle bronze as Australia's Alicia Coutts took a surprising victory in 54.09 seconds, with team-mate Seebohm second in 54.30, ahead of Halsall's 54.57.

Amy Smith finished fifth for England, with team-mate Emma Saunders eighth.

I came down with a bit of a tummy bug and had nothing to give today, I pretty much couldn't stand up after my final

Fran Halsall

The 20-year-old Halsall, who swayed in visible discomfort on the podium having collected her bronze medal, told BBC Sport she had been a victim of illness.

"I came down with a bit of a tummy bug and had nothing to give today, I pretty much couldn't stand up after my final," she said.

"I don't know why I put myself through it sometimes. It's frustrating more than anything, I know at my best I can swim a lot faster.

"But what can you do? I got in and gave it my best shot. I've got to be proud of it, really."

Halsall had just 20 minutes' rest before getting back in the pool for the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly.

Despite being the European silver medallist in the event, she finished down in fourth in the first semi-final, which proved not enough to reach the final.

England's James Goddard

I knew I had it in me - Goddard (UK only)

However, England's Ellen Gandy was the fastest qualifier in a time of 58.24 seconds, just ahead of Wales's Jemma Lowe. England's Jess Sylvester qualified seventh-fastest.

Rebecca Adlington, who made Thursday's 800m freestyle final, similarly complained of feeling slightly unwell on her Twitter feed.

But the 21-year-old, who won the 800m freestyle Olympic title in Beijing two years ago, still managed to qualify for the final in eight minutes, 35.82 seconds.

Adlington's England team-mate Sasha Matthews and Scotland's Megan Gilchrist are also in the final.

On paper, England's world champion and world record holder Gemma Spofforth should have cruised to gold in the women's 100m backstroke final.

But Spofforth, 22, produced a dismal finish and posted a time of 1:00.02, behind the victorious Seebohm's Commonwealth record of 59.79, while Wales's Georgia Davies finished sixth.

"I'm cross with myself. I don't even know what finish that was, it wasn't good at all," said Spofforth.

"I came here to win and it's been a struggle to get confidence, and get ready to swim fast. I hate that that was my finish."

In the 4x200m freestyle relays, all of third-placed England, fifth-placed Scotland and sixth-placed Wales broke their national records in the women's final.

Adlington looked out of puff in her relay leg as, with Australia out of sight almost from the start, New Zealand became the stars of the show to place second.

For a country like Scotland to come away with a Commonwealth silver medal is a huge boost

Robbie Renwick

Australia were looking to avenge their defeat by England and Scotland four years ago in the men's relay, and they did so in some style, setting a new Games record of 7:10.29.

The Aussies were almost four seconds clear of Scotland in gold-medal position, with England down in fifth place.

"I knew I had to give it a big effort in the relay tonight," said Renwick after the Scots' silver medal.

"The Aussies are a huge talent and for a country like Scotland to come away with a Commonwealth silver medal is a huge boost.

"We're hosting the Games in four years' time and it's going to be awesome."

Canadian world record-holder Annamay Pierse found herself vanquished in the women's 200m breaststroke final as Australia recorded their first clean sweep of the Delhi podium.

Leisel Jones won her third consecutive Commonwealth title in the event in 2:25.38, ahead of Tessa Wallace and Sarah Katsoulis, with Pierse fifth, England's Stacey Tadd sixth, and Scottish duo Hannah Miley and Kerry Buchan finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

Kenya's Jason Dunford deprived Australia's Geoff Huegill of a fairytale return to the Commonwealth pool in the men's 50m butterfly.

My friend Geoff Huegill lost one Hannah Miley to compete in Delhi. Regardless of what he does in the pool, this is a success story

Ian Thorpe, five-time Olympic champion for Australia

Dunford touched fractionally ahead of Huegill, who lost more than seven stone to return to swimming having retired post-Athens 2004, to win gold in a time of 23.35 seconds.

"Racing can be cruel at times, but I'm really happy with that," said Huegill.

"Two and a half years ago I was still close to 140kg (22st) so to be back in international racing, I couldn't ask for anything else."

England's Antony James finished sixth, with Scotland's Andrew Mayor eighth.

South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh picked up gold in the men's 100m breaststroke, with Scotland's Michael Jamieson just outside the medals in fourth place. Fellow Scot Kris Gilchrist came seventh, and England's Daniel Sliwinksi finished eighth.

"I can't really match these bigger guys for speed over the first 50m - if you'd mentioned fourth place at the beginning of the week, I'd have been delighted," said Jamieson.

Former world short-course champion turned BBC analyst Mark Foster has said Britain's male swimmers, like Jamieson, must improve their build with a view to London 2012.

"I would like to see our guys doing a lot more strength work," Foster wrote on the BBC Sport website.

"When you put our guys on a podium next to the Aussies, our guys are small. You look at their physique, and you look at the Australians, and you think: 'They are going to beat him.'"

Defending champion Simon Burnett, marked out by Foster as a "great talent", came through the men's 100m freestyle semi-finals alongside English team-mate Adam Brown, but Grant Turner missed out by three tenths of a second, as Australia's Eamon Sullivan qualified fastest for the final.

Women's 100m freestyle

Coutts edges Halsall in 100m freestyle (UK only)



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Comment and analysis

Rebecca Adlinton showcases her gold medal - and painted nails Highs and lows from Delhi
Tom Fordyce picks some of the best moments and biggest characters

India's relay stars Will India secure Games legacy?
What India needs to do to build on sporting foundations

AP India on track
Matthew Pinsent hopes India emerges as a sporting powerhouse


see also
Commonwealth Games 2010: Form guide - swimming
29 Sep 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Britain's search for male swim stars
06 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Thorpedo on the H-Bomb
05 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
Swimmers head day three schedule
05 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games
England and Scotland strike gold
05 Oct 10 |  Commonwealth Games


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
The Independent Adlington's gold brings smile to faces of ailing swimming team - 4 hrs ago
Liverpool Echo Fran Halsall shakes off Delhi belly to claim Commonwealth games bronze - 16 hrs ago
Free Malaysia Today Sickness strikes swimmers as champions double-up - 21 hrs ago
Terranet England's Adlington is 800m gold favourite - 22 hrs ago
Times Live South Africa 'Delhi Belly' floors Games medal hopefuls - 22 hrs ago


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