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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK

Rawlinson hails 'miracle' gold

England's Chris Rawlinson is still coming to terms with winning his first ever title after claiming gold in the 400m hurdles on Monday.

Rawlinson's preparations for the tournament had been severely disrupted after he suffered food poisoning.

And he admitted on BBC Radio Five Live: "A week ago I didn't know if I would be competing - I was that ill.

"The doctor helped me get in a reasonable shape but to win gold is a miracle in my eyes.

"It still hasn't really sunk in yet. I've been trying my best over the last five years to win a medal at a championship.

"It's not through lack of effort that I haven't. It's just been one of those things - I've been really unlucky.

"Thankfully, in England, on a home track everything came together and I've managed to bag my first title. It feels awesome."

Jinxed

In 1997, Rawlinson was ruled out of the world championships after sustaining a hernia injury.

And a bizarre accident, when Rawlinson stood in a pot-hole, ended his hopes of competing in the next world championships.

When Rawlinson became ill just before the Games in Manchester, he thought his major championship jinx had struck again.

He said: "I talked to my coach a week ago and I was depressed. There always seemed to be another hurdle to overcome ahead of championships.

"But the food poisoning has resided now and I've just got the after-effects of the medication I've been taking.

"I should be getting stronger towards the European championships. I'll be able to take this result and use it as a springboard for success."


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