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Aussie sprinter takes gold only to be disqualified

Sally Pearson wins gold at the Commonwealth Games but is disqualified hours later after England protest.

Sally Pearson's joy was shortlived
Sally Pearson's joy was shortlived
Image: Anja Niedringhaus/AP/Press Association Images

THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES were mired in more controversy yesterday when the women’s 100m winner was disqualified half an hour after she celebrated gold.

Sally Pearson became the first Australian woman in 36 years to win Commonwealth gold in the 100m sprint but a protest from the England team led to her disqualification half an hour after she had completed a lap of honour in the Delhi stadium.

The medal ceremony was delayed after England protested that Pearson had not been disqualified after their own Laura Turner was held responsible for a second false start.

Turner was disqualified by judges but her protests led to her eventually running the race at the third attempt under appeal although, only to finish last.
Replays showed Pearson, a Beijing Olympics 100m hurdles silver medallist, clearly false starting. She told Australian TV after the race:

I was pretty scared. I thought I had false started. I stayed on the track. I had no choice but to focus on what I had to do.

Pearson’s disqualification meant Nigeria’s Osayemi Oludamola was awarded gold, Natasha Mayers of St Vincent and the Grenadines silver and England’s Katherine Endacott bronze.

Their are some suggestions that England’s protestations were payback for Australia’s protest against England in the 2006 Games in Melbourne.

In the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the Australian team was awarded the gold medal in the women’s 4x400metre relay after the disqualification of the England team for a baton-change violation.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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