Rugby athlete Katharine
Merry shattered her personal best time to take a bronze medal in
the women’s 400m in Sydney.
in the third lane in a stadium packed with supporters of Cathy
Freeman, Merry started out strongly, and by halfway was almost
alongside early leader Lorraine Graham.
favourite started to move through on the bend, Merry managed to
hang in with the leaders and took third place.
Merry, who is now based
in Birmingham, but grew in up in Dunchurch, clocked a time of
49.72s, despite still suffering from a viral infection that has
dogged her summer.
It was the first time
that she has gone under 50s. Fellow Brit Donna Fraser also broke
the barrier in a superb improvement on her best time.
Speaking after the race
"I had to work
extremely hard for that. Donna inside was scaring me all the
"I'm over the
moon. I knew it was fast, but I didn't think I would go under
50 that much.
"I feel I've run
a mature race. If I didn't conserve as much as I did through
the rounds I wouldn't have been able to ran that fast
But the limelight in the
stadium was totally on Cathy Freeman, who won Australia’s
100th Olympic gold.
people were cheering for her and an expected 60 per cent of the
country were watching on TV.
said she wasn't put off by the noise for the Aussie star.
was so focused on myself and was determined not to let the
roars for Cathy out me off."