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SILVER IN THEM THAR HILLS 1998

1998 Isle of Man team
Travel time-out: (back row, left to right) Harry Creevy, Frank Coffey, David Moore, Allan Callow, David Batty, Marcus Cooil, Bill Maxwell, Dane Harrop, Andrew Roche, Gary Hinds, Gabrielle Henrard and Alan Jones and Steve Taylor
Kneeling/standing (l to r): Karen Kneale, Kevin Furlong, Steve Partington, Mark Kelly and Cal Partington

Athletics: Steve Partington (20 and 50km walk), Cal Partington (10km walk), Karen Kneale (10km walk), Kevin Furlong (100m hurdles and 100m)
Swmming: Gabrielle Henrard (100 and 200m backstroke, 50 and 100m freestyle), Emily Crookall-Nixon (50, 100 and 200m freestyle, 100 and 200m backstroke, 100m butterfly, 200 and 400m individual medley), Alan Jones (50, 100 and 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley, 4 x 100m medley relay and 4 x 100 freestyle relay), Dane Harrop (100 and 200m backstroke, 100m butterfly 200m individual medley, 4 x 100m medley relay and 4 x 100 freestyle relay), David Batty (50 and 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 4 x 100m medley relay and 4 x 100 freestyle relay), Marcus Cooil (100m backstroke, 100m freestyle 4 x 100m medley relay and 4 x 100 freestyle relay).
Cycling: Rob Holden (road race and individual time trial), Andrew Roche (road race and individual time trial), Mark Kelly (20km scratch and 40km points)
Shooting: David Moore (small-bore individual and pairs), Harry Creevy (small-bore individual and pairs), Glenn Catlin (Skeet individual and pairs), Nigel Kelly (Skeet individual and pairs), Paul Quilliam (full-bore)
Tenpin bowling: Steve Taylor (team and individual), Bill Maxwell (team and individual)
Team officials: chef de mission, Robin Oake; general team manager, Ron Killey; assistant team manager, Ian Harrop; HQ official, Frank Anderson; athletics, Allan Callow; swimming, Carrie Cooil; cycling, Gary Hinds; shooting, Frank Coffey; 10-pin bowling, Dr David Beard
20 athletes, 9 officials (29), flag: Mark Kelly
70 countries 3633 competitors

Malaysia 1998

The 12 year wait for another medal winning performance came in the intense heat and humidity in the hills of Keddah, the shooting ranges hacked out the Malaysian jungle and a 45 minute airplane journey from Kuala Lumpur.

Inspired by the exploits of team-mate Harry Creevy and bronze medal winner Stewart Watterson, policeman David Moore, who had taken up small-bore shooting six years earlier, secured the Island’s first silver medal.

His success, however, came against the odds.

During the TT a year earlier he was hit by a motorcycle at the bottom of Barregarrow while on duty minutes before the roads closed for the Saturday race, suffering a degenerating spinal injury that would cause issues in later years.

During the next 12 months he trained hard seeking qualification for KL and both he and Harry Creevy were eventually selected, and they regularly travelled together to pre-Games competitions all over the UK.

The hard worked peaked in the summer of 1998 when Moore was training and shooting at the rate of more than 20 hours a week on top of working full shifts, covering evenings and nights including weekends.

With the support of his wife and two sons aged 3 and 5, the commitment proved very worthwhile and just listening to him recounting the story of his success makes one hot and bothered, such were the conditions the shooters endured.

‘In some ways not getting a medal in the pairs event (with Creevy) was a catalyst for me,’ said David. ‘It was clear to me that my scores had fallen away during the shoot and most of that was due to the draining nature of the heat and the intensive schedule I had set myself.’

The solution was a day off, a good book by the pool and an early night ahead of the individual shoot. A remarkable day and transformation followed with Moore zoned and focused on the job ahead, a tense morning ending with him two points off ultimate winner Stephen Petterson’s 596 ex 600 and one ahead of South Africa’s Gavin Van Rhyn.

Creevy, who had been third to Van Rhyn in the Commonwealth championships in KL a year earlier, also made the cut for his second appearance in a final, and the Manx pair braved it out, Moore’s scoring in the fractionalized stage dropping him to sixth place at one stage, but he gathered himself and secured the silver before a small Manx presence that included his chief constable and the team’s chef de mission Robin Oake.

Creevy, fourth to Petterson in a training shoot, also shot determinedly and held station with a solid sixth place, equaling his effort in Victoria.

Nigel Kelly showed promise in the pre-Games Skeet event with second place but did not quite muster the same form in the actual competition, finishing 9th out of 28 while team-mate Glenn Catlin, the Union Mills plumber, had a disastrous day.

They fought well in the earlier pairs contest and were pleased with fifth out of 16 teams, Kelly notching a creditable 97 ex 100.

1998 Allan Callow and Kevin Furlong
Malaysian mates: Athletics manager Allan Callow (left) and sprinter/hurdler Kevin Furlong

The inclusion by the hosts of tenpin bowling in the programme drew mixed reactions but saw the Island rise to the occasion, the sport enjoying a healthy following at the Castle Mona Hotel facility in Douglas, created four years previously.

The duo of Bill Maxwell, 32, the manager of the CM alley, and Steve Taylor, 37, a social worker from Ramsey, enjoyed being given ‘the opportunity of a lifetime’ to compete in both the individual and team events.

That said, they came up against professionals and other challenges as described by manager Dr David Beard: ‘As a new sport we were initially unsure of the response we would receive from other more obviously “athletic” sports.

‘The fact that we were so readily accepted was a credit to the other competitors and officials and to the two bowlers who showed what an exciting as well as physically and mentally tough sport tenpin bowling is at the higher level.’

Maxwell bowled above his qualifying standard in the intimidating atmosphere of the bowling centre while Taylor found the mental pressure too tough, especially when the team management sat immediately behind him during his early matches.

Beard remarked: ‘Steve is such a genuine person that he felt the pressure was on, firstly to show his appreciation to the senior members of the council for the money spent by the CGA to enable him to compete, and secondly to prove that 10-pin bowlers were worthy of a place in the team.’

Taylor gradually improved but never really recovered from that poor start, however the pair managed to beat two of the home countries in the team event.

Steve Partington, troubled firstly by a pre-race chest infection and then a bout of sickness on the day of his walk, now a 20km (12 miles) affair, was never near his best and finished a disappointed 13th out of 17 finishers.

His wife Cal performed well to finish 6th in the women’s 10km event in a season best of 48.09, beating England’s number two, while team-mate and fellow GB international Karen Kneale, her training set back by mosquito bites and a reaction to prescribed medicines, challenged the England number three, only losing out to her and a Kenyan in the closing kilometres.

Kevin Furlong used the 100m in preparation for the 110m hurdles, his speciality, but was unable to show enough speed to reach the next round.

The introduction of B finals and the opportunity for the four male swimmers to compete in the relay events saw the six-member squad kept busy.

Emily Crookall-Nixon, 14, a Millfield School pupil, twice made it through to a B final for those placed 9th to 16th in the heats. In the 400m IM, she notched fourth, just outside her heat time, and in her preferred 200m IM, she bettered her first swim notching 2.29.07 in taking sixth.

Dane Harrop also made the B final of the 100m backstroke with a personal best of 62.07, going slightly slower in the final itself for eighth place. He also swam in the B final of the 200m backstroke and notched another PB but could not quite match that time in the final where he was seventh in 2.15.94.

Alan Jones, Harrop, David Batty and Marcus Cooil were ninth of 11 teams in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay in 3.47.07, a Manx record, and produced another record in the 4 x 100m medley relay where they placed tenth of 12 in 4.12.33.

There was top-class ride by seasoned cycling professional Rob Holden, 31, who finished 11th in the men’s road race. Always in the thick of the action, Holden attacked late on and almost made sixth place, the peloton gobbling him up close to the line.

Andrew Roche, 27, riding on the crest of a wave after winning the 1997 Milk Race in Ireland, one of Europe’s toughest events, was badly hampered by knee problems in the later stages of the race and finished out of sorts nearly 14 minutes behind the winner.

A puncture, crash and non-finish in the individual time, while lying sixth, compounded Roche’s misery. On the track, Great Britain junior international Mark Kelly, 17, rode brilliantly for 7th in the 20km scratch race and put up another gutsy ride in the 50km points race.

1998 Isle of Man team photo
Ready to go: (back row, left to right) Bill Maxwell, David Beard, Ian Harrop, Steve Taylor and Allan Callow
Middle row (l to r) Mark Kelly, Andrew Roche, Steve Partington and Karen Kneale
Front row (l to r) Gary Hinds, Rob Holden, Carrie Cooil and Cal Partington

Drugs team member upsets hosts

Mark Kelly and Bradley Wiggins

Podium people: (left to right) Mark Kelly, Bradley Wiggins now Sir Brad and Ben Hallam. Mark was beaten several times by the future Tour de France winner

■ The three-man cycling squad found training in the vicinity of the Games village to be impossible so they, like other cycling teams, moved up the coast to a holiday resort to fine tune their form. Track cyclist Mark Kelly ended up with four British Junior Championship silver medals in the run up to Malaysia, and on each occasion he was beaten by future Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. Mark lost out in three track disciplines to Bradley and again in the 25-mile time trial title event. Mark was dubbed “Ned Kelly” by Welsh track cycling boss and former Milk Race winner Shane Sutton after he trained with the Wales team.

■ The doping controversy at the 1998 Tour de France cropped up when disgraced Festina team member Neil Stephens, an Australian, was included in the “Cyclones” squad for the road race. The Malaysian Sports Minister was angry at his inclusion and so was the Australian Olympic Committee. Many members of the Festina team were implicated in the drugs scandal although Stephens denied any involvement.

■ When swimmer Emily Crook all-Nixon needed repairs to her dental brace, she was sent by car to a hospital and from there by ambulance - complete with flashing lights and siren sounding - to an orthodontist. The repair took two minutes and she was returned to the village by ambulance, again with lights flashing and siren blasting away.

■ Swimmer Dane Harrop, studying to be an architect, is a man of many talents. With clippers in hand, he gave a fetching Number Two to all his male team-mates, plus walker Steve Partington and hurdler Kevin Furlong.

■ The Malaysian hosts pledged that the opening ceremony would go on as scheduled despite a tropical storm wiping out the dress rehearsal.

Results

1998 Isle of Man Swimming team

Water sports: (left to right) swimmers Emily Crookall-Nixon, Gaby Henrard, Marcus Cooil, Dane Harrop, Alan Jones and David Batty

ATHLETICS

Men's 100m, gold: Ato Bolden (Trinidad and Tobago) 9.88
Kevin Furlong - 11.41 (47/58)
110m hurdles, gold: Tony Jarrett (England) 13.47
Kevin Furlong - 15.22 (17/18)
Men’s 20km walk, gold: Nick A’Hern (Australia) 1.24.59
Steve Partington - 1.32.15 (13/17)
Women’s 10km walk, gold: Jane Saville (Australia) 43.57
Cal Partington - 48.09 (6/13)
Karen Kneale - 52.25 (10/13)

CYCLING

Men's 20km scratch race, gold: Michael Rogers (Australia)
Mark Kelly - 7th
40km points, gold: Glenn Thomson (New Zealand) 35pts
Mark Kelly - 19/29, 1pt
Road race (114 miles), gold: Jay Sweet (Australia)
Rob Holden - 11/95 at 33 secs
Andrew Roche - 37/95 at 13.57
Individual time trial (26 miles), gold: Eric Wohlberg (Canada) 53.15
Rob Holden – 57.30 (19/29)
Andrew Roche – DNF

1998 Manx Radio interview

A quick word: Rob Holden sums up his feelings to Manx Radio after finishing the individual time trial in 19th place

TENPIN BOWLING

Men’s singles, gold: Kenny Ang (Malaysia) 6046 (average 226.13 in final)
Bill Maxwell – 1918 in qualification
Steve Taylor – 1823 in qualification
Men’s doubles, gold: Malaysia (Kenny Ang and Ben Heng (Malaysia) 3552
IoM - Steve Taylor and Bill Maxwell - 2953 minus 699 (13/15)

SWIMMING

Women's 50m freestyle, gold: Sue Rolfe (Canada) 25.82
Gabrielle Henrard 28.68 (26/34)
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 28.83 (28/34)
100m freestyle, gold: Sue Rolfe (Canada) 55.17
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 61.77 (28/34)
Gabrielle Henrard - 62.47 (29/34)
200m freestyle, gold: Susan O’Neill (Australia) 2.00.24
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 2.16.67 (21/26)
Gabrielle Henrard - 2.18.66 (23/26)

1998 Andrew Roche

Wrecked: Andrew Roche recovers from riding the 114-mile road race

100m backstroke, gold: Giaan Rooney (Australia) 62.43
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 70.96 (22/25)
Gabrielle Henrard - 74.75 (24/25)
200m backstroke, gold: Katy Saxton (England) 2.13.18
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 2.32.35 (17/20)
400m individual medley, gold: Joanne Marlar (Canada) 4.43.74
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 5.20.00 in heat, 5.20.58 in B final (4/8), 12/15 on fastest times
200m individual medley, gold: Marianne Limpert (Canada) 2.15.05
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 2.30.87 in heat, 2.29.07 in B final (7/8), 14/20 on fastest times
100m butterfly, gold: Petria Thomas (Australia) 59.42
Emily Crookall-Nixon - 68.42 (23/26)
Men's 50m freestyle, gold: Mark Foster (England) 22.58
David Batty - 25.24 (33/41)
Alan Jones - 25.78 (35/41)
100m freestyle, gold: Michael Klim (Australia) 49.51
Alan Jones - 55.61 (33/44)
Marcus Cooil - 57.45 (40/44)
David Batty - 58.07 (41/44)
200m freestyle, gold: Ian Thorpe (Australia) 1.46.70
Alan Jones - 2.00.99 (26/36)
100m backstroke, gold: Mark Versed (Canada) 55.52
Dane Harrow - 62.07 in heat, 62.23 in B final (8/8), 16/19 on fastest times
Marcus Cooil - 64.13 (18/19)
200m backstroke, , gold: Mark Versfeld (Canada) 1.59.67
Dane Harrop - 2.15.26 in heat, 2.15.94 in B final (14/14)
100m breaststroke, gold: Simon Cowley (Australia) 62.00
David Batty – Dsq
100m butterfly, gold: Geoffrey Huegill (Australia) 52.81
Dane Harrop - 62.60 (29/30)
Men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay, gold: Australia (Ashley Callus, Chris Fydler, Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim) 3.21.27
IoM - Dane Harrop, David Batty, Alan Jones, and Marcus Cooil - 3.47.07 (9/11)
4 x 100m medley relay, gold: Australia (Adrian Radley,Chris Fylder, Geoff Huegill, Josh Watson, Michael Klim and Simon Cowley) 3.38.52
IoM - Dane Harrop, David Batty, Alan Jones and Marcus Cooil - 4.12.33 (10/12)

SHOOTING

50m small-bore rifle prone individual
1, Stephen Petterson (New Zealand) 697.4
2, David Moore 694.6 97, 100, 100, 100, 100, 97 – 594 plus 100.6 in final 9.7, 8.4, 10.0, 10.7, 10.4, 9.8, 10.6, 10.5, 9.9, 10.6
3, Gavin Van Rhyn (South Africa) 694.1
Harry Creevy - 689.8 (6/30) 591 – 99, 99, 98, 97, 98, 99 plus 98.8 in final 10.1, 10.0, 8.8, 9.8, 10.1 10.4, 10.1, 9.9, 9.9, 9.7
50m small-bore rifle prone pairs, gold: South Africa (Gavin Van Rhyn and Michael Thiele) 1189
IoM – David Moore and Harry Creevy - 1172 ex 1200 (7/23) Moore 585; Creevy 587
Skeet individual, gold: Desmond Davies (Wales) 122 ex 125 plus 23 in final - 145
Nigel Kelly – 116 (9/28)
Glenn Catlin - 101 (28/28)
Skeet pairs, gold: Cyprus (Costas Stratis and Antonis Nicolaides) 188 ex 200
IoM - Nigel Kelly and Glenn Catlin – 183 (5/16) Kelly 96; Catlin 87
Full-bore individual: first stage 7 shots at 300, 500 and 600 yds; second stage 10 shots at 300, 500 and 600 yds; third stage15 shots at 900 and 1000 yds, gold: James Paton (Canada) 402
Paul Quilliam – 391 (19/44)