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Rediff.com  » Sports » Athletics: Gold for Ethiopia, Britain's night of glory

Athletics: Gold for Ethiopia, Britain's night of glory

Last updated on: August 5, 2012 19:11 IST

Ethiopia's Gelana wins marathon gold

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Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana held off Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo to win gold in a soggy Olympic women's marathon on Sunday.

Gelana clocked two hours 23 minutes and seven seconds, finishing five seconds ahead of Jeptoo.

- London Olympics 2012 - Complete coverage

Russian Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova won bronze.

The run set off and finished in pouring rain and, as unpredictable as the British weather, Gelana upset the favoured Kenyans.

It was the second long-distance battle the Ethiopians won over the Kenyans at the Games, and just as Tirunesh Dibaba made her finishing kick count in the 10,000-metres on the track, Gelana left it until late to kick for the line.


Image: Ethiopia's Tiki Gelana crosses the finishing line as she wins the women's marathon final
Photographs: REUTERS/Chris Helgren

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Ennis's tally was a monster 306 clear of the silver medalist's

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Britain enjoyed its greatest day of athletics on Saturday as Mo Farah in the 10,000 meters, Greg Rutherford in the long jump and heptathlete Jessica Ennis delivered an extraordinary hat-trick of Olympic gold medals on a truly unforgettable night.

It was the first time Britain had won three athletics golds in one day and the occasion will live long in the memories of the 80,000 fans who played their own part in creating an atmosphere of spine-tingling intensity and astonishing noise.

Ennis has been the face of the Olympics virtually since London was awarded the Games seven years ago and, having missed the 2008 Games with a foot injury then lost her world title in 2011, the pressure was on to deliver.

She did so in style as an all-time heptathlon best 100m hurdles and further personal bests in the 200 meters and javelin gave her a mammoth lead heading into the final 800 meters.

Needing only a safe finish in the pack Ennis fed off the crowd and roared home to win her heat and secure a crushing overall victory.

Her 6,955 points tally was a monster 306 clear of Lilli Schwarzkopf of Germany, who was initially disqualified for a lane infringement but then reinstated.

"I honestly can't believe it after all the hard work and after the disappointment in Beijing. I am just so happy," said Ennis.

Image: Britain's Jessica Ennis holds her gold medal during the women's heptathlon victory ceremony
Photographs: REUTERS/Phil Noble

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'I've never experienced anything like this'

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Farah's perfectly executed 10,000 meters run earned the hugely popular Somalia-born 29-year-old Britain's first Olympic distance gold.

A steadily-run race was exactly what he wanted, though everyone in the stadium was wary of the threat from Kenenisa Bekele, bidding for an unprecedented third 10,000m title.

Farah was in complete control, however, and stamped his authority on the race at the bell as a remarkable rolling wall of noise brought him home in a time of 27 minutes 30.42 seconds.

Fast-finishing Galen Rupp finished a surprise second for the United States's first medal in the event in 48 years, with Bekele's brother Tariku grabbing bronze.

"I've never experienced anything like this," said Farah, who could yet double up in the 5,000m.

"It's the best moment of my life something I've worked so hard for. Long distance is a lonely event and what you put into it you get out of it."


Image: Britain's Mo Farah holds the Union Flag after winning the men's 10,000m final
Photographs: REUTERS/Phil Noble

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'I don't think many people expected me to win'

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Rutherford, who has had a wretched time with hamstrings seemingly forged from tissue paper, came into the Games as the world leader this season but was barely mentioned as gold medal hope.

His 8.21 leap gave him the early initiative that would not be enough for a medal, let alone gold, in most major competitions, but it would have done the job on Saturday. Just to make sure, though, he improved it with a leap of 8.31 and nobody could get close, even though it was still the shortest leap to win gold in 40 years.

Australia's Mitchell Watt grabbed a silver with a last jump of 8.16m with American Will Claye taking bronze on 8.12

"I don't think many people expected me to win that and maybe me and my team were the only ones who did," said Rutherford.


Image: Britain's Greg Rutherford holds the Union Flag after winning the gold in the men's long jump final
Photographs: REUTERS/David Gray

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce retained the 100 meters title

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Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce retained the Olympic women's 100 meters title in 10.75 seconds 

The women's 100 meters might not have been able to compete with the home hat-trick for noise but it did deliver a great race with six women clocking under 11 seconds for the first time in the Olympic final.

Fraser-Pryce kept herself a vest-width in front from the start to finish with the second-fastest Olympic winning time after Florence Griffith-Joyner's 10.54 in 1988.

The Jamaican, who served a six-month doping ban in 2010, also became the third woman to retain the title after Americans Gail Devers in 1996 and Wyomia Tyus in 1968.



Image: Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce celebrates with her national flag after winning the women's 100m final
Photographs: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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