Meseret Defar wins Olympic gold |
Reuters | August 11, 2012
LONDON (Reuters) - Ethiopia's Meseret Defar sprinted past compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba on Friday to reclaim the Olympic women's 5,000 metres title she won in 2004.
"It's a great day for me. Since 2008, I have tried everything as I wasn't able to win the Olympics," Defar, the bronze medallist from Beijing, told reporters.
"I have won two Olympic medals before and this is my third. I'm not sure I can do a fourth so this means a lot to me," added the 28-year-old.
Dibaba hit the front with four laps to go after a slow first half followed by Defar, Gelete Burka and the three Kenyans in the race who moved up on the outside.
The field started to string out as Dibaba began to test her rivals and at the bell, only Defar, Kenya's Sally Kipyego and Cheruiyot had gone with her.
But victory over in the longer race a week ago appeared to have taken its toll as Dibaba's usual searing final lap did not materialise and Defar remained on her shoulder ready to pounce on the home straight.
Defar crossed the line with her arms in the air before kissing a religious picture she had carried in her top and falling to the track weeping.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
Olympics marathon: Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana wins gold
BBC | August 5, 2012
Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo claimed silver, five seconds behind, and Russia's Tatyana Petrova came third for bronze.
Freya Murray, a late replacement for injured Paula Radcliffe, was the best placed Briton, 9:07 back in 44th place.
Team-mate Claire Hallissey was more than 12 minutes behind in 57th, while Mara Yamauchi quit just before 10km.
In winning, 24-year-old Gelana took seven seconds off the previous Olympic record and she had the faster finish as she crossed the line ahead of Jeptoo.
Petrova set a personal best of 2:23:29, while Kenya's Mary Keitany - winner of the London marathon this year - had to settle for fourth after being dropped by the leading pack in the final stages.
"I'm not sure many people would have tipped Gelana," said BBC commentator and former Olympic 1500m silver medallist Steve Cram.
"She wasn't quite unknown, but to run in such a way was impressive. Gelana looked really relaxed until the last 200m-300m when she strained to reach the finish line.
"Once again, the Kenyans have had to play second fiddle to the Ethiopians, who were dancing with joy at the end."
Murray, 28, was the first Scottish woman to represent Britain in an Olympic marathon since Liz McColgan at Atlanta in 1996.
"It was a brilliant experience for me and, hopefully, a stepping stone to Glasgow 2014 [Commonwealth Games] and Rio 2016 [Olympics]," she said.
"I just had to keep fit and when I got the call last Sunday I was devastated for Paula but excited. I feel I have justified my selection."
Yamauchi, 38, was sixth in the 20008 Beijing Olympic marathon but has since struggled with injury.
She said: "I had a heel bruise that I thought I was able to run on. I was confident I could give it a go, but on the second corner it started hurting.
"I did my best and it is not good to drop out in your home Games.
"I didn't want my Olympic journey to end like this. I thought about withdrawing beforehand and had much higher hopes. Sadly it wasn't to be."
Tirunesh Dibaba wins gold in 10000m
BBC | August 4, 2012
Leading with 500m to go, 26-year-old Dibaba broke away from Kenya's Sally Kipyego and Vivian Cheruiyot to win in 30 minutes 20.76 seconds.
Pavey finished seventh in 30:53.20 with Bleasdale clocking 30:55.63 in eighth.
"Ethiopia has every reason to celebrate. She becomes the seventh athlete from the country to win three individual gold medals. It was a fantastic performance, a brilliant run. You know what? She might have another in a few days time. This is the great Tirunesh Dibaba." -- Brendan Foster Olympic bronze medallist and BBC commentator
On her fourth Olympics Pavey, 38, beat her previous best by 19.10 seconds, as Bleasdale improved by 33.96 seconds.
Dibaba's triumph was her third Olympic gold after winning both the 5,000m and 10,000m in Beijing - the first female athlete to do so.
And she could match that triumph, as she plans to run again in the shorter distance in London in the final on Friday, 10 August.
After a steady first 4,000m where the pace was 74 seconds per lap, Kipyego began to drag out the race around the halfway mark.
Ethiopia's Werknesh Kidane took it on another gear around 7,600m as the leading runners slimmed down to just four with team-mate Dibaba behind Cheruiyot and Kipyego.
With three laps to go Kipyego found the front as Kidane slipped back, but it mattered little as Dibaba tore down the finishing straight for the penultimate time.
In front of a noisy crowd clearly enjoying the first day of athletics in the Olympic Stadium, the Ethiopian runner established a 30m lead down the back straight.
And she extended it further as she completed a final lap of 62 seconds to give her opposition no chance of stripping her of her crown.
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