Sally Gunnell - Great Britain - 1990 Commonwealth gold in the 400m Hurdles

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 29 January 1990

Click on image to enlarge

      Friday, 29 July 1966
      Chigwell, England.
  • Great Britain
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Sally GUNNELL - Great Britain - 1990 Commonwealth gold in the 400m Hurdles


Sally Gunnell experienced the highs and lows of her sport during 1986 when she won the Commonwealth 100m hurdles title at Edinburgh on 1 August, but was eliminated in the heats at the European Championships less than four weeks later. The following year, she improved her personal best to 13.01sec on 4 July, but was eliminated at the World Championships in Rome when she finished 6th in her semi-final. Sally also ran in her first 400m hurdles event in 1987, winning in 59.90sec for the Essex Ladies, the local team she had first joined as a junior, and to which she would remain intensely loyal throughout her international career. Gunnell rapidly improved in the 400m hurdles during 1988, providing her with somewhat of a dilemma, as she also made improvement in the 100m hurdles, setting a new UK national record of 12.82sec.


However, she improved the national record for the 400m hurdles on four occasions, culminating in a best of 54.03sec when she finished fifth in the Olympic final in Seoul. In contrast, she only finished fifth in her semi-final of the 100m hurdles at Seoul, a result which no doubt influenced her decision to compete almost exclusively in the longer event from the following season onwards. After a third place finish in the 400m hurdles at the World Cup in 1989, Gunnell competed at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, where the field included the reigning Olympic Champion, Debbie Flintoff-King (Australia). In the final, on 29 January, Gunnell (see photo above, No. 0311), easily won the gold medal from Flintoff-King (No. 0031) in a time of 55.38sec. Despite having virtually abandoned the 100m hurdles by this stage of her career, Gunnell also contested that event at Auckland, winning the silver medal. She went on to win a third medal as a member of England's victorious 4 x 400m relay team. (Ron Casey)




Women's 400m. Hurdles Final
1990 Commonwealth Games
1. Sally GUNNELL   ENG   55.38
2. Debbie FLINTOFF-KING   AUS   56.00
3. Jenny LAURENDET   AUS   56.74
4. Wendy CEARNS   ENG   57.53
5. Elaine McLAUGHLIN   NIR   57.54
6. Lorraine HANSON   ENG   57.58
7. Rosey EDEH   CAN   57.86
8. Donalda DUPREE   CAN   58.31