Karen's anchor leg seals gold

COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Karen Pickering grabbed her second gold of the Commonwealth Games as she anchored England's 4x200m freestyle team to a stunning victory over Australia.


Karen Pickering grabbed her second gold of the Commonwealth Games as she anchored England's 4x200m freestyle team to a stunning victory over Australia.

The Ipswich swimmer followed up her victory in the 200m freestyle as the quartet took England's fourth gold of the night and sixth of the Games – bettering their tally from Malaysia four years ago.

The foursome of Karen Legg, who has silver and bronze from the individual events, Georgina Lee, Joanna Fargus and Pickering shattered the Games record to win in eight minutes and 1.39 seconds from Australia.

Canada were third with the Welsh quartet fourth in the four-team final.

The relay triumph followed on from James Goddard's 200m backstroke victory, Sarah Price's 100m backstroke win and Adam Whitehead's triumph in the 100m breaststroke.

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Add to that four bronze medals and a silver for Scotland's Gregor Tait and British swimming is well and truly on the up after the disappointments of the Sydney Olympics when they failed to win a medal for the first time in 64 years.

The recovery started at last year's World Championships in Japan when the women's 4x200m freestyle team ended a 26-year gold medal drought at the event.

But then they had only triumphed after Australia's crushing win was ruled out after Petria Thomas had jumped into the water to prematurely start the celebrations and second-placed America were disqualified for an illegal change.

It was Thomas - who finished equal third in the 200m won by Pickering on the opening night - who could stop England tonight after a thrilling battle over the first three legs when there was just fractions between them.

Thomas led heading into the last 100 metres but Pickering's strength told and by the final turn she was ahead of the Australia before powering to victory.

Australia's Ian Thorpe moved a step closer to an historic seven titles as action in the swimming pool stole the show in the Commonwealth Games.

Thorpe scored his fourth gold of a remarkable Games so far as he teamed up with Grant Hackett, Leon Dunne and Jason Cram in the 4x200m freestyle final.

The Australian superstar is now just three events away from taking an unprecedented seven Commonwealth gold medals.

In the judo, Simone Callender took gold for England in the women's over-78kg. Angharad Sweet of Wales won silver and Scotland's Stephanie Hart claimed bronze. More gold was to follow for the hosts with Samantha Lowe winning the under-70kg event and Michelle Rogers scooping the under-78kg title.

A brace of silvers followed for the hosts as first Sam Delahay in the men's under-100kg and then Daniel Sargent in the over-100kg lost their finals. And Amanda Costello - under-70kg - weighed in with a bronze medal.

The home nations made their mark in the boxing ring as well with a string of medals.

England's Mark Moran earned bronze in the bantamweight class as did Kevin Evans in the super-heavyweight and lightweight Andy Morris.

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