Commonwealth Games 2002
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Swimming Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Thorpe gold run ends
Ian Thorpe was in his first major backstroke final
Ian Thorpe paid tribute to Matt Welsh after the race

Matt Welsh brought Ian Thorpe's stunning run of success at the Commonwealth Games to an end with victory in the 100m backstroke.

Thorpe had been looking for a sixth gold medal to stay on course for a record seven titles.

But he could do nothing to stop fellow Australian Welsh, a backstroke specialist, who set a Games record of 54.72secs.

open quote
I held nothing back for this one
end quote
Matt Welsh

Thorpe was behind from the early moments but overhauled Alex Lim of Malaysia to claim the silver.

Welsh said he was pleased to show his talents in the race he considers his own.

"He came to my party and there's nothing more really to say. It's my race, it's been my race for quite a few years," he said.

"The 100 is truly my love in backstroke."

Welsh was disqualified in the heats of the 200m backstroke on Thursday but said he had put that behind him.

"I'm completely over that," he said.

"The only thing on my mind was making sure I could sleep. I hate that feeling where you're disappointed and keep yourself awake all night. I held nothing back for this one.

"I was very, very relaxed going into it, probably a little bit too relaxed. Probably didn't go out there as hard as I would have liked.

"I didn't really turn it on until I hit the wall and come home. In the last five metres, it felt like a grand piano had been dropped on me."

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I've never focused on just getting seven golds
end quote
Ian Thorpe

Thorpe, taking part in his first backstroke final at a major competition, posted a time of 55.38secs.

And the 19-year-old insisted after the race that he was not disappointed with silver.

"That's my best time," said Thorpe. "That's a good result for me. I'm more than happy to come second.

"If I hit the wall and I've done my best I can be happy with the result.

"I've never focused on just getting seven golds, I just concentrated on seven races.

"I'll be able to walk away happy, there's no disappointment. I'm very happy with the way I've swum.

"I congratulated Matt. He is world champion, an excellent backstroker and a great swimmer."

Asked whether he planned to continue with the backstroke, Thorpe was unsure.

"I will probably carry on with the stroke, or I might pick something up, or I might drop something," he said.

BBC Five Live's Bob Ballard
"11 medals for England - not a bad night"
Australia's Ian Thorpe
"I never thought I'd win"
Australia's Matt Welsh
"I just did my own thing"
Former Olympic champion Mark Spitz
"Thorpe can go on for years"

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