Muttai basks in 400m glory


NEW DELHI, October 9 – Six years of hard work paid off for Kenya's Mark Muttai on Saturday as he upset the odds in powering to the men's Commonwealth Games 400m gold medal.Muttai crossed the line in 45.44 seconds, a whisker ahead of Australia’s Sean Wroe and Ramon Miller of the Bahamas.

With defending 400m champion John Steffensen skipping Delhi after withdrawing as a protest against Athletics Australia, who he described as "egotistical and outdated", the race was wide open.

Muttai was not considered a favourite but stormed through the last 100m to take the title, although a charging Wroe almost stole his thunder.

"This is the first gold medal in my life and the first medal ever. It’s like a dream," beamed Muttai.

"I am proud of being Kenyan tonight. I worked six years for this medal and now it’s true. I love my whole nation."

While he won, it was a remarkable achievement for Wroe to get second, having only gained a berth in the race when Steffensen withdrew.

Like the Kenyan, he said it was a dream come true.

"It’s surreal. A month ago I wasn’t even going to run this race," he said.

"I was only supposed to run the 4x400m relay. I had an opportunity and I took it so it’s an absolute bonus and I can’t believe it.

"Coming down the final straight there were a lot of guys together. I thought back to the hill sessions I did and that helped me to get over the line."