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  Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 19:31 GMT 20:31 UK
Double medal boost for Britain
The British 4x200 freestyle team embrace
The British 4x200 freestyle team can start celebrating
The British women's 4x200m freestyle team have been confirmed as gold medallists after an appeal at the World Swimming Championships.

Swimming's governing body Fina decided original winners Australia were guilty of a "clear violation" of the rules after their swimmers jumped into the pool before other teams had finished.

Fina's jury also rejected an appeal against disqualification by the United States, giving Britain their first world gold for 26 years.

The Americans had claimed the timing system, which had signalled a premature changeover by their team, was faulty.


After a sleepless night, justice has been served
British team manager Craig Hunter

The jury of appeal's decisions mean Germany now take silver behind Britain, and hosts Japan win bronze.

In another boost for British swimming on Thursday, Joanna Fargus won the bronze medal in the 200m backstroke.

British team manager Craig Hunter said: "After a sleepless night, justice has been served.

"The five girls in the squad and the 27 members of the team are absolutely delighted. We prepared (the appeal) well and presented it well."

Chaos reigned on Tuesday after first America and then Australia were disqualified to hand gold to the British quartet.

However, the Americans were reinstated after an appeal.

British team boss Craig Hunter made an official complaint
British team boss Craig Hunter made an official complaint

Britain and Australia then mounted their own protests, and a decision was taken to postpone the medal ceremony for 24 hours.

The British team of Nicola Jackson, Janine Belton, Karen Legg and Karen Pickering were the fastest qualifiers for the final.

But they looked unlikely to even get a medal until a storming last leg from Pickering brought Britain into the medal positions.

The four swam a new British record of seven mins 58.69 secs and looked as though they would have to be content with bronze, before the USA and Australia were thrown out of the race.

The British team were left in limbo after the Americans lodged a complaint.

The US claimed that the touchpad in lane five - which showed that Julie Hardt left the starting block for the second leg before Cristina Teuscher touched the wall - was faulty.

The last British gold medal-winning performance at the world championships was David Wilkie's breaststroke double in 1975.

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 ON THIS STORY
British team manager Craig Hunter
"After a sleepless night, justice has been served"
Head of Australian swimming John Devitt
"Our girls had been the fastest four swimmers in the event"
Watch the race
"That is the first gold medal for Great Britain for 26 years"

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