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Friday, 2 August, 2002, 20:04 GMT 21:04 UK

Glory for Cooke in freestyle

Rebecca Cooke led from start to finish to win the women's 800m freestyle and add another gold to England's tally.

Cooke was the outstanding favourite for the race and did not disappoint the predominantly English crowd at the Manchester Aquatics Centre to win in a time of eight minutes, 28.54 seconds.

Australia's Amanda Pascoe, who was Cooke's closest challenger, took silver in 8:34.19 while Janelle Atkinson of Jamaica wonbronze in 8:36.23.

"I just tried to take the race out as hard as Icould"
Gold medal winner Cooke

Also in the race, South Africa's Natalie du Toit, believed to be the first disabled swimmer tocompete in a final, finished eighth in 9.13.57.

Du Toit, who lost her left leg in a horrific motor-scooter accident having competedat the last Games as an able-bodied swimmer, had won the women's multi-disability 100m freestyle title moments earlier.

A jubilant Cooke told the BBC how much the support at the Centre lifted her during the endurance race.

"I just tried to take the race out as hard as Icould and hold on," she said.

"That's generally my race plan. It helps me get my rhythm going.

"I was just really looking forward to it and the crowd helped so much."I worked very hard for it."


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