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Gault makes it a sixth Commonwealth gold

27 July 2002

Michael Gault won a record sixth Commonwealth Games gold for England when he took the Air Pistol 10m pairs with Nick Baxter.

Baxter and Gault

Gault and Baxter

Despite fears that the Indian duo of Samaresh Jung and Jaspal Rana would build on their previous form this year, the England team retained their title won at the Kuala Lumpur Games four years ago by three clear points to slide the Indians into silver position.

Rana was clearly disappointed with his performance, and many competitors found the sweltering conditions in the Lord Roberts Centre particularly arduous – the air-conditioning was turned off as its noise disturbed competitors’ concentration.

Namibians Andre Malherbe, an accountant from Windhoek, and tractor salesman Friedhelm Sack, took their country’s first shooting medal. The pair suffered heartbreak four years ago in Kuala Lumpur when they finished an agonising fourth, but today came jubilation for the African pair – although celebrations were put on ice until after the individual events.

As predicted, Australian Michael Diamond showed strongly, partnering compatriot Adam Vella to take gold in the Pairs Trap, but it was a far from simple tussle. England led going into the last round, but Olympic silver medallist Ian Peel uncharacteristically missed three of his last four clays to let the Aussies in, as partner Christopher Dean looked on in horror.

Wales won their first medal of the Games through Michael Wixey and James Birkett-Evans, who added bronze to his silver in this same event in 1990.

In the Women’s Trap there was further Aussie gold. Diane Reeve and Nessa Jenkins made Commonwealth Games history by winning the first ever Pairs event in this discipline for women. Home favourites Lesley Goddard and Anita North were just one away from matching the Australians’ tally. Canada took bronze, through New York-based Cynthia Meyer – and this meant a Commonwealth Games medal at last for Susan Nattrass, after 32 years in the top flight.

Earlier, India had smashed the Commonwealth Games record to take the first gold medal of the shooting events. Sameer Ambekar and Abhinav Bindra both posted maximum during their early rounds and were never headed.

Ermen Zakaria of Malaysia had to fight through the pain barrier after injuring his shoulder days before competition. He received emergency massage in Manchester to enable to him to compete and he took silver medal with team-mate Hameleay Mutalib. England’s champions from Kuala Lumpur, Chris Hector and Nigel Wallace, could only watch as their record disappeared along with the title. Wallace came out of retirement at Christmas to take part at Bisley, borrowing equipment from team-mate Chris Hector to win bronze.

Info News Service/pb/ws/sdb

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