Bekele’s golden double and Kenyan double delight in Olympics

August 23rd, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 23 (DPA) Kenenisa Bekele emulated fellow-Ethiopian Miruts Yifter when he completed the first Olympic long distance double gold with a runaway triumph in the 5,000 metres at the Beijing Olympics Saturday.Bekele, who won the 10,000m last Saturday, is only the fifth man overall to get the distance double, the last being Yifter in 1980.

Nancy Jebet Langat gave Kenya a first ever women’s 1,500 metres Olympic gold. Wilfred Bungei ended Kenya’s 16-year wait for another 800m victory, and Andreas Thorkildson won javelin gold for Norway as he did in 2004.

Bekele joined the distance running greats Emil Zatopek (1952), Vladimir Kuts (1956), Lasse Viren (1972, 1976) and Yifter with the double as he shocked his last rivals with a deadly sprint at the bell.

Bekele clocked 12 minutes 57.82 seconds for victory. The 2003 world champion Eliud Kipchoge added silver to 2000 bronze for Kenya in 13:02.80 and compatriot Edwin Cheruiyot Soi took bronze in 13:06.22 minutes.

Ethiopia had also claimed the women’s distance double, from Tirunesh Dibaba.

There was disappointment again for the Kenya-born 1,500m and 5,000m world champion Bernard Langat of the US as he had to settle for ninth place after going out in the 1,500m semi-finals.

Langat surged ahead of world champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain on the final back straight to claim the women’s 1,500m gold in a personal best 4:00.23 minutes a day after her 27th birthday.

Ukrainians Iryna Lishchynska, in 4:01.63, and Nataliya Tobias, in 4:01.78 minutes took silver and bronze. The Ethiopia-born Jamal, who had raised the tempo with 500m to go, faded dramatically to finish fifth.

Bungei, 28, led from start to win the men’s 800m in 1:44.65 seconds. Sudan’s Ismail Ahmed Ismail took silver in 1:44.70 while Kenyan world champion Alfred Yego had to settle for bronze in 1:44.82 minutes.

The 2004 gold medallist Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia and season leader Abubaker Kaki of Algeria had crashed out in the semi-finals.

Bungei’s win ended Kenya’s gold medal drought in the 800m that stretches back to William Tanui’s win in Barcelona in 1992.

Thorkildsen nailed his second Olympic gold with a fifth-round javelin throw of 90.57m. Einars Kovals of Latvia took silver with 86.64m and world champion Tero Pitkamaeki of Finland took bronze with 86.16m.

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