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Merry Hangs On To Win Bronze

Rugby athlete Katharine Merry shattered her personal best time to take a bronze medal in the women’s 400m in Sydney.

Katharine MerryRunning 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.

As Australia’s 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 Merry said:

"I had to work extremely hard for that. Donna inside was scaring me all the way.

"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 today."

But the limelight in the stadium was totally on Cathy Freeman, who won Australia’s 100th Olympic gold.

110,000 people were cheering for her and an expected 60 per cent of the country were watching on TV.

Merry said she wasn't put off by the noise for the Aussie star.

She said:

"I was so focused on myself and was determined not to let the roars for Cathy out me off."

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CWN / Sport / Athletics / 25 Sep 00
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