• Commonwealth Games - Day Three

Backstroke gold for Goddard

ESPN staff
October 6, 2010
James Goddard claimed gold in a Commonwealth Games record © Getty Images

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England's James Goddard regained the Commonwealth 200 metres backstroke title, eight years after he won the event, with a blistering swim in the pool in Delhi.

Goddard went out hard from the outset and was never headed, as he fended off a host of challengers. He turned with a length lead and simply raced away from his rivals and touched home in a games record of 1:55.58.

"I knew I had a good swim in me, I knew I could swim 1:55," Goddard told the BBC. "I still think I can go faster. I have had a shoulder problem for the past year that has been playing up for the last couple of days, so I am just so happy with that swim. I knew it would be tight, so I wanted to go out hard and I am really chuffed."

Fran Halsall was looking to back up her win in the 50m butterfly on Tuesday in the 100m freestyle, but she could only take the bronze behind Australia's Alicia Coutts. Halsall made a blistering start and turned in the lead, but she faded badly in the final 20 metres and was pegged back by Coutts and had to settle for the bronze.

Halsall came out shortly afterwards to compete in the semi-finals of the 100m butterfly but she finished well beaten and emerged from the pool looking decidedly unwell. After composing herself, she revealed she started feeling sick through the night.

"I came out and am not well and simply had nothing to give," Halsall said. "In the last 50 I had nothing. It was a real battle. I can't complain, but it is frustrating as I knew if I was okay I could swim a lot faster. "

Gemma Spofforth recovered from her poor effort in the semi-finals to take silver behind Emily Seebohm in the 100m backstroke final. Spofforth led for much of the race, but faded late on and any hopes she had of snatching it on the touch were snuffed out when she missed her finish.

"I am very cross with myself," Spofforth said. "With the finish I did not see the flags and missed the finish. I don't know what you would call that finish - it was not good at all.

"I hate coming second, I came here to win so it is not good. But I have the 50 tomorrow, the 200 on the Friday and the relay after that and will just go out hard."

Luke Folwell added to England's gold-medal haul when pipping team-mate Reiss Beckford in the final of the individual all-around in the gympastics.

Mark Lewis-Francis eased into the semi-finals of the 100m with a comfortable victory in his heat in 10.20 seconds.

"To perform like this in October after a long season, I am over the moon," Lewis-Francis said. "The hardest thing for me after the Europeans was staying focused. Winning the silver medal put me on cloud nine for a long time. I still had to keep my head down and train.

"I don't know what I am capable of. I have been injured for two years and this is my first season without injury and I am surprising myself. I am just happy to be in the shape I am in."

Oshane Bailey, who beat Michael Frater in the Jamaican championships, produced the performance of the night when easing to victory in his heat of the 100m in a time of 10.12.

Simon Mantell helped himself to two goals as England's men eased to a comfortable 4-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago, while the women's hockey team were 4-1 winners over Canada - with Chloe Rogers, Crista Cullen, Alex Danson and Charlotte Craddock the scorers.

In the velodrome, Scotland had to settle for the silver medal behind Australia in the women's team sprint. Jenny Davies and Charlene Joyner were no match for Anna Meares and Kaarle McCulloch.

Australia's Cameron Meyer proved in a league of his own during the men's points race at the Velodrome, but England's George Atkins produced a superb ride in the event to take silver.

Scotland's tilt at the men's hockey tournament is in tatters after they suffered a second loss in two days, this time a humiliating 9-0 loss to gold medal favourites Australia.

Following their 3-0 defeat to Pakistan on Tuesday, Scotland's hopes of finishing in the top two in Group A and therefore qualifying for the semi-finals have all but faded.

Australia have won all three gold medals in the event since it was introduced in 1998, and they were ruthless in what was their tournament opener.

Full-back Luke Doerner as the Kookaburras took advantage of a raft of penalty corners, while Chris Cirilello picked up a brace and Rob Hammond, Trent Mitton, Simon Orchard and Des Abbott all scored in stifling heat at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

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