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Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK

Richardson recovers in style

By Charlie Henderson
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

Kate Richardson has won the women's all-around gold after qualifying for the competition in sixth place.

The Canadian stamped her authority on the competition from the outset, scoring 9.600 on the beam.

She was consistent in all disciplines, totalling a 36.750 in her competitive return to action after injury.

"It was a relief to hit everything and have a good week," the 18-year-old said.

"It felt so good to be up there again competing.

"After back surgery in January I was in a brace for six weeks - it was horrible," she recalled.

While Richardson starred in her first round on the beam, her main rival for gold struggled in both elements.

Australia's Allana Slater was uncharacteristically out of sorts.

Top individual apparatus scores
Vault:
Slater - 9.187

Asymetric bars:
Slater - 9.550

Beam:
Richardson - 9.600

Floor:
Lauren - 9.500

The 18-year-old stumbled and ended on her back during her opening floor routine.

And at the death, when she was still in the hunt for gold despite her earlier mistake, she again threw in a loose performance, this time on the beam.

The stutter and slip assured Richardson of the title.

And Slater's mistake was further compounded when England's Beth Tweddle, with the backing of the vociferous home support in the G-Mex, took silver after her floor programme.

The South-African born gymnast made up for her fall on the beam in the team competition and fought through the pain of an ankle injury.

"I hurt it a couple of days ago and I had to ice it before I went onto the floor, but the crowd really helped me to perform," she said.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic," she added.

Slater's bronze was small consolation on a disastrous day for the Australian team.

The highly-fancied Alexandra Croak and Sarah Lauren each suffered two falls.

Lauren finished out of the medals in fourth, with Croak, the Australian national champion, a lowly 12th.


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