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Monday, 29 July, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK

Rawlinson claims first title

England's Chris Rawlinson claimed his first major title with victory in the 400m hurdles final at the Commonwealth Games.

Rawlinson led home Matthew Elias of Wales in 49.15 seconds, with Jamaica's Ian Weakley edging out England's Anthony Borsumato for bronze.

"Hopefully today I've put a few critics right"
Chris Rawlinson

After several disappointments in major championships, Rawlinson made no mistake in the City of Manchester Stadium.

The fastest man in the field went out hard and held on to the lead coming off the bend, despite pressure from Elias.

And he admitted afterwards.that the victory came as a huge relief.

"I have spent the past four years attempting to win a medal, never mind a title, and I can't explain how I feel at this moment," said Rawlinson.

"I came here to win tonight and that's what happened - I've got the gold and the title.

"Having seen some English favourites not succeed in the last few days I was a little bit scared that might happen to me.

"Hopefully today I've put a few critics right, even though I have not won in a great time, but the amount of pressure you face as favourite is immense."

Rawlinson's team-mate Borsumato came close to taking bronze.

But Weakley powered down the straight to overtake him on the line after the Englishman faltered at the final hurdle.

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