World champ Hooker on top, India win historic gold

Women's 100m gold medal winner Osayemi Oludamola of Nigeria fails doping test

Australia's world pole vault champion Steve Hooker claimed Commonwealth gold on Monday while Richard Mateelong upstaged his more illustrious Kenyan countrymen to win the 3,000m steeplechase title.

On a day overshadowed by the Games' first positive drugs test, India pulled off a stunning clean sweep in the discus, winning the country's first athletics gold in 52 years and only their second ever.

Kenya's Nancy Langat, meanwhile, bagged a 800-1500m double when she powered to the shorter distance gold medal, making the most of the absence of world champion Caster Semenya.

Seven gold medals were decided at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, with Hooker, who is also Olympic champion, clearing 5.60 metres to easily defend his title.

Hooker is the only vaulter to pass the magical 6.0m barrier in 2010 with no-one else in the Delhi field having jumped higher than 5.50m this year.

"I had the pressure on so I am very happy to get it done," said Hooker. "It's absolutely thrilling to defend my title."

While many nations have diminished teams in New Delhi, Kenya has a strong squad and Mateelong stamped his authority on the steeplechase to lead a Kenyan 1-2-3.

The African champion crossed the line in a pedestrian 8:16.40 but ahead of world champion Ezekiel Cheboi and Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto.

"It's quite fantastic. This was very hard to do but I am glad I got it," he said of beating his teammates.

A Kenyan victory was always on the cards with the country winning every Commonwealth men's steeplechase final since 1990.

Meanwhile, Australia's Sally Pearson, who was stripped of her 100m gold medal for a false start, bounced back in emphatic fashion to win the 100m hurdles title, adding it to her Olympic silver medal.

She was the red-hot favourite and never looked like losing, crossing the line in a new Games record time of 12.67 seconds.

"Pure relief, so happy. It's been a hard four or five days but I tried to wipe it from my memory," said Pearson, who was desperate for the title having crashed at the last hurdle in the final in Melbourne four years ago.

The action came after the Games was plunged into a new crisis when women's 100m gold medal winner Osayemi Oludamola of Nigeria failed a drugs test.

Commonwealth Games Federation president Mike Fennell said the 24-year-old, who was promoted to gold following Pearson's disqualification, tested positive for the banned stimulant methylhexanamine.

"Any positive test, whether in a high-profile event or not, is something we very much regret because we all strive for a clean Games and a clean sport," said Fennell.

Oludamola failed to make the 200m final which itself proved controversial with Elena Artymata of Cyprus, the fastest qualifier, disqualified from her semi-final for stepping out of her lane.

A Cypriot appeal prevented the final going ahead on Sunday as scheduled and when it was finally run on Monday the Cayman Islands' Cydonie Mothersill handed her country their first-ever Commonwealth gold medal.

"I am so excited to bring home the gold. It's my first one and I am savouring the moment," she said.

With Australian discus world champion Dani Samuels missing, India pulled off a clean sweep with Krishna Poonia taking gold with a throw of 61.51 metres ahead of Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil.

It was the country's first athletics gold since Milkha Singh won the 440 yards in Cardiff in 1958.

"I dedicate this medal to all the Indians. With this I think we wiped out everything bad that was happening before the Games and came out united," said Poonia.

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