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Campbell speeds to women's 200 gold

By Bill Barclay
Last updated on: August 26, 2004 02:32 IST
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Jamaican speedster Veronica Campbell earned the Caribbean nation their first Olympic gold medal of the 2004 Games when she won the 200 metres on Wednesday in a searing 22.05 seconds.

Campbell, who won bronze in the women's 100 metres on Saturday, clocked a personal best to finish well clear of United States teenager Allyson Felix who took silver in 22.18, a world junior record.

Debbie Ferguson of the Bahamas picked up bronze in 22.30 seconds.

Campbell became only the second Jamaican woman track athlete to win Olympic gold. Deon Hemmings won the 400 metres hurdles in 1996.

The race showcased a new generation of women's sprinters with a host of big names missing.

Olympic champion Marion Jones failed to qualify for the event at the United States trials, although she did compete in Athens on Wednesday, qualifying for the final of the long jump.

The first three across the line at last year's world championships -- Kelli White of the U.S., Russian Anastasia Kapachinskaya and American Torri Edwards -- are all serving drugs bans.

France's Christine Arron, a pre-Games medal contender, failed to reach the final, as she did in the 100m.

The 22-year-old Campbell was the fastest qualifier for Wednesday's final and imposed herself on the race from the start.

The Jamaican roared off the bend with a metre lead and the 18-year-old Felix could not haul her in despite clocking a fantastic time herself. Felix has been faster than 20.18 once before, running 20.11 at altitude in 2003, but the time was not ratified as no dope test was taken.

Campbell looked a little nonplussed by her win but eventually set off on a lap of honour with team mate Aleen Bailey, who finished fourth.

Ferguson, who anchored the Bahamas to the Olympic 4x100 relay gold in 2000, clocked a season's best in third, although she never threatened the leading pair.

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Bill Barclay
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