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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK

India deny England gold

England 2-3 India (golden goal)

India have been awarded the gold medal after officials ruled their disputed golden goal stood in the women's final.

England had an initial appeal against the result turned down and then withdrew a second protest.

"In the spirit of the 'Friendly Games' we have decided to accept the situation"
Denise Tyler,
Team England

The match ended in bizarre circumstances as the hosts believed India's golden goal had been ruled out by officials.

Games chiefs hurriedly considered England's appeal against the goal as the players remained on the pitch for more than half an hour, though India had already completed their lap of honour.

"In the spirit of the 'Friendly Games' we have decided to accept the situation," said Team England chief media officer Denise Tyler.

The match went into extra time with the score at 2-2, and India got the disputed winner in the closing moments of the first half when Mambta Kharab converted a penalty corner.

The umpires first ruled out the strike as the hooter sounded, but after complaints from Indian players and officials the decision was overturned.

The rules state that a penalty corner move cannot end until either the ball has left the D or a goal is scored.

England coach Tricia Heberle insisted the decision not to launch a second appeal was the right one.

"We've won a silver medal and there's a lot to be excited about with this team"
Tricia Heberle,
England coach

"Full credit to the Indians," said Heberle. "We have to be accepting that the umpire's decision is final.

"One thing tried I've to instil into the players is a sense of pride and sportsmanship. It was the best thing to do and the right decision."

England had fought back from two goals down, battling back on to level terms early in the second half.

The host nation began the match in confident mood having seen off Olympic champions Australia in the semi-finals.

Helen Grant twice went close in the early stages, and Leisa King looked certain to score when she rounded the keeper before losing control of the ball.

But Kharab put India ahead from a short corner against the run of play in the 21st minute, and Sita Gussain doubled the advantage nine minutes later from a similar position.

England were struggling as half-time approached but were lifted when Sarah Blanks cut the deficit seconds before the break.

Jane Smith then levelled in the 45th minute when her shot was diverted into the top corner.

But after dominating possession in normal time, England were under pressure in the extra period and saw the match slip away in the fifth minute.

Heberle believed England had done enough to win the match.

"I certainly thought we played well enough to win gold but we didn't take our chances," she said.

"It hurts, but all credit to the girls. We've won a silver medal and there's a lot to be excited about with this team."

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