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Katherine Endacott - The ultimate silver lining

ESPN staff
December 9, 2010

The past 12 months of the sporting calendar have witnessed British excellence in the sports of cricket, golf and athletics, they have played host to a landmark year for one particular tennis star, and they have extended the reputations of two different champion boxers. Leading up to Christmas, ESPN will name its top 12 sports personalities of the year in ascending order...

Seldom does an athlete earn a silver medal at a major athletics championships by finishing fourth, but that is exactly what British sprinter Katherine Endacott managed to do in 2010.

Competing in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Endacott went from fourth, to third, and then as high as second due to a series of controversies surrounding the women's 100m final.

Based purely on the race itself, Endacott did not even belong on the podium. Finishing fourth, she came home behind Australia's Sally Pearson, Nigeria's Osayemi Oludamola, and St Vincent and the Grenadines athlete Natasha Mayers.

However, in somewhat suitable fashion for a Games that suffered from collapsed bridges, dodgy ceilings, and allegedly intoxicated swimming pools, things did not go according to plan for the competition's female sprinters.

Pearson was first to be affected. Following a false start in the final, Pearson was allowed to run the race due to a debate over whether she or England's Laura Turner had twitched first. Turner had it by sight, but Pearson's reaction time was quicker. When it came to the crunch, both were disqualified, Pearson's gold medal stripped, and Endacott promoted to bronze.

"I'm just numb right now, I don't really know what I feel. I'm obviously devastated and disappointed," said an emotional Pearson. "This is our careers. To have run the race, do the victory lap and told everything's OK, then told you can't have the medal. I have to deal with it."

Endacott ran the first leg as England's women won gold © Getty Images
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Better news was to come for Endacott though, who then witnessed Nigerian athlete Oludamola deliver a positive drugs test, with traces of methylhexaneamine found in her sample. The 'B' test confirmed Oludamola's guilt, so she became the second gold medallist to be disqualified from the same event.

Mayers of St Vincent and the Grenadines was awarded gold, with Endacott now promoted to silver. "I didn't think I could do it - my target was to reach the final, so I'm over the moon to win a medal," Endacott said.

The silver medal was not the only piece of extra luggage the City of Plymouth athlete took back to England though, after Endacott played her part in a 4x100m triumph that added gold to her haul in Delhi. Combining with Turner, Montell Douglas and Abi Oyepitan, England's ladies got the baton round first on a day when the men later emulated their achievement.

Endacott was handed the first leg in the relay, and she confessed victory tasted a lot sweeter than her complex road to the individual silver.

"The guys were in great shape and I'll be more emotional on the podium than I was when I picked up the medal after the 100m," she commented.

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