Olympic athletics: Beijing Olympic winners retain gold (Lead)

August 4th, 2012 - 12:54 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 4 (IANS) A four-year wait didn’t reduce their sharpness in track and field as two defending champions triumphed in the opening two athletics events at the London Olympics.

Poland’s Tomasz Majewski topped the six-round men’s shot put competition with his seasonal best throw of 21.89 meters. The 30-year-old has thus become the first man to retain the Olympic shot put title for 56 years, reported Xinhua.

On the track, the women’s 10,000m final rocked the nearly full-capacity Olympic Stadium with tight competition between two world’s best long-distance runners. Kenyan Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot, the 2011 world champions in both 5,000m and 10,000m.

Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, Beijing Olympic champion in both 5,000m and 10,000m, stormed home in 30 minutes 20.75 seconds, leaving Kenyan Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot, the 2011 world champion in both 5,000m and 10,000m behind.

“I waited and waited. I only knew after the last throw from David (Storl). It was very close — millimetres. It’s always very hard when you have great guys like these,” said Majewski, who is nicknamed “Silent Giant”.

German David Storl, the 2011 world champion, finished second with a narrow gap of three centimetres.

Majewski heaped praise on the silver medalist: “He is young, he is explosive and will always throw very far. The next Olympic Games will be his, but this one is mine.”

Comparing the two Olympic gold medals, the Pole said: “It’s hard to tell. It’s different but I am very, very happy now.”

Reese Hoffa of the United States, the 2007 world champion, stood third in 21.23.

Cheruiyot finished third behind Dhaba and her teammate Sally Jepkosgel Kipyego, who grabbed the silver medal in 30:26.37.

“I am very happy. I have never been happier like today. But I was not even that happy compared to Beijing 2008,” said Dibaba.

Despite missing out on the gold, Cheruiyot showed her confidence in the her other pet discipline.

“I am happy with my personal best but I expect to do better in the 5,000m. I accept that the other two were better. It’s the first time that we raced head-to-head,” she said.

The 10-day athletics event has 47 gold medals at stake.

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