Don't discount South Africa's chance for a gold medal in track and field in the Commonwealth Games, despite Elana Meyer's failure in the women's 10,000 meters.
Off past performances, Meyer, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist, was the favorite going into Wednesday's 10,000 final. However, she couldn't overcome the weakening effects of a blood disorder that caused her to miss three weeks of training.She also couldn't overcome the withering kick of Scotland's Yvonne Murray.
Murray, who had run only one 10,000 during her career - and that was nine years ago - was too strong and too fast for the race-short Meyer. She seized the lead from the struggling South African with about 500 meters remaining and went on to a 50-meter victory in 31 minutes, 56.97 seconds. Meyer settled for the silver in 32:06.02.
"I didn't come into the games as well prepared as I would have liked," Meyer said. "So I didn't feel the pressure" of having to win a gold medal.
With Meyer thwarted, South Africa's best hopes for a gold rest with pole vaulter Okkert Brits.
Brits has cleared 19 feet, 21/4 inches this year. No one else in the Commonwealth has gone higher than 18-21/2.
The South Africans also have possibilities in the men's 800 with Hezekiel Sepeng, fifth in the Commonwealth this season at 1:45.32, and the men's 1,500 with Johan Landsman, No. 1 at 3:33.56.
The 800 final is Friday, the pole vault Saturday and the 1,500 Sunday, the final day of the games.
Today's only track and field competition is the men's 30-kilometer walk and the women's 10k walk.
In Wednesday's other finals, Canada's Michael Smith won his second consecutive decathlon title with 8,326 points, England's Rob Denmark took the men's 5,000 in 13:23.00 and 36-year-old Judy Oakes of England won the women's shot put at 59-7.
The showcase event was the women's 10,000.
With 16-year-old Sally Barsosio of Kenya, the 1993 World Championship bronze medalist, a late scratch apparently because of a high fever, the race became a duel between the pixieish Meyer and the taller, red-haired Murray.
Meyer took the lead shortly before the 6,000-meter mark, Murray tucked right in behind her, and they ran 1-2 until the Scot broke away at 9,500 meters.