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You are in: sports > Aquatics > News

Goddard grabs gold in British 1-2-3

01†August†2002

Britainís swimmers showed the Australians in the menís 200m backstroke as local lad James Goddard grabbed gold for England.

James Goddard

Goddard grabs gold

Under starters orders, all men remained statuesque whilst waiting for the gun.

The disqualification of the pre-Games favourite, Matt Welsh, in the morning heat for moving had been the main talking point in and around the Manchester Aquatics Centre for most of the day.

Australiaís Leigh McBean and Ethan Rolff had the task of defending Australiaís reputation in the pool. The English duo of James Goddard and Simon Militis were prepared for battle in lanes two and three.

Before the race, Gregor Tait, the holder of the Scottish 50m, 100m and 200m short course records had unwrapped himself from the Scottish flag, signalling his determination to take a gold back to Edinburgh.

But it was Englandís Goddard (1:59.83) who got the best start, stretching into a clear lead at the 100m mark. Mitchim (2:01.55) was being tailed by Tait for second. There was just one and a half seconds separating the field.

Local boy Goddard from Stockport had held back in the heats and now absorbed the support from the crowd to take an unexpected gold for England.

Goddard said: ďIím delighted with my gold medal. I think everyone had a chance of gold after Welsh was disqualified. Iím only 19 and I hope this is the start of a long career.

ďIím glad I could contribute to Team Englandís medals. I think weíve given the Aussies a scare."

Tait (2:00.55), backstroke finished seventy-two hundredths of a second later, sealing Scottish swimmingís most successful Commonwealth Games since 1986.

Tait said afterwards: ďI was a bit disappointed, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but it is a Commonwealth Games medal. It was always going to be open tonight. I thought Welsh was there to be beaten. So he wasnít there, so it was still a race without him."

ďIíve beaten James Goddard before, but thereís nothing I can do about it now. Iím happy with silver."

Militis added: ďI knew it was going to be close. I went for gold, and Iím very happy to get a medal, and Iím glad for James and Gregor Ė itís good for the British team.

ďItís bronze, but I came here with nothing."

Canadaís Keith Ryan Beavers (2:03.29), this morningís fastest qualifier, did not have enough left in tank to seriously threaten at the home nations trio at any stage.

Australiaís remaining backstroke competitors had to settle for fourth and fifth. McBean finished in (2:01.22) with Rolff, the 50m specialist recording a time of (2:01.22).

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