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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Shooting Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Pistol pair retain title
Nicholas Baxter and Michael Gault
Baxter and Gault triumphed in testing conditions

Michael Gault and Nicholas Baxter retained their Commonwealth title to win England's first shooting gold of the Games.

The duo finished ahead of India's Samaresh Jung and Jaspal Rana, with Namibia's Andre Malherbe and Friedhelm Sack taking bronze.

Gault now hopes to follow up with victory in Sunday's free pistol event.

But he complained that his chances have been hampered by strict British handgun laws.

Legislation brought in after the Dunblane massacre means the Lincoln-based marksman has to practice overseas.

open quote
It was tough. We were all suffering from the heat
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Nicholas Baxter
Shooting gold medallist

And England coach Tom Richards revealed he could have been arrested had he brought his team's weapons in for the start of practice last Monday.

Gault said: "We now have to have a foreign import licence to shoot for the country we have won medals for.

"We became a political issue and lost. We want to go to the Olympics but this is harming our chances."

Saturday's success was Gault's sixth Commonwealth gold medal and Baxter's third.

Gault won his first title at the Victoria Games eight years ago and followed up with a further four in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

The 48-year-old was relieved to have come out on top in draining conditions at Bisley.

He said: "It isn't bad for an old man - that was the nearest I've come to trying to lose a gold medal.

"The score I had was my lowest for two or three years.

"It was so hot in there. Last time I had that heat in a competition was in Cuba."

Partner Baxter agreed: "It was tough. We were all suffering from the heat and when the pressure is on physically as well as psychologically it's even worse."

The English gold came after a string of near-misses for the home shooters.

Ian Peel and Chris Dean finished level on points with Australia's Michael Diamond and Adam Vella, but lost the gold medal on a countback.

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 ON THIS STORY
Nicholas Baxter
"I'm pleased to win at home"
BBC Sport's Jonny Saunders
"A good day for England"
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See also:

27 Jul 02 | Shooting
25 Jul 02 | Shooting
14 Jun 02 | Shooting
15 Jun 02 | Shooting
15 Jun 02 | Shooting
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