Kipchoge makes it a Kenyan double

Kipchoge makes it a Kenyan double

Kipchoge makes it a Kenyan double

Eliud Kipchoge made it a Kenyan double in marathon by winning the men’s gold on Sunday while India’s T Gopi and Kheta Ram turned in career best performances, finishing lower down the order.

It was the first time in Olympic history that the men’s and women’s mar­athon winners were emerging from the same nation. Jemima Sumgong had won the women’s title a week ago.

On a rainy day, Kipchoge raced through the streets of Rio to finish in the Sambodrome in two hours eight minutes and 44 seconds for the final athletics gold medal of the Games.

It was the 31-year-old’s seventh victory in eight marathon races and applied more gloss to a career that began with victory in the 5000M at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.

Gopi ran a personal best of 2:15:25 to come home 25th while Kheta Ram was a second slower than his team-mate in 26th position. The third Indian in fray, Nitendra Singh Rawat, finished 84th among 140 finishers, timing 2:22:52.

Gopi, Kheta Ram and Lalita Babar – who was 10th in the 3000M steeplechase – have been the exceptions in the dismal show by Indian athletes.

“This is history, for the first time, men’s and women’s winners are from the same nation. It is the best moment of my life,” said Kipchoge, who dominated the final phase and won by a big margin from Ethiopia’s Feyisa Lilesa, a familiar name for Bengaluru World 10K fans.

Lilesa was more than minute behind Kipchoge, finishing in a time of 2:09:54. American Galen Rupp, 10000M silver medallist in London 2012, claimed the bronze in 2:10:05.

Kipchoge began to up the pace after the half-way point and began to pull away past the 30km mark. Lilesa and Rupp followed him but the Kenyan always had the race in control, steadily increasing his lead past 35 kilometres to post a comfortable win.

“I felt the pace was slow, so I decided to take over,” said Kipchoge, who also has a bronze and a silver at the 5000M at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games respectively. “This is the best medal that I have had in my life.”

Kipchoge’s is only the second marathon gold for a Kenyan man after Samuel Wanjiru’s triumph in 2008.

Results: Marathon: Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) 2:08:44, 1; Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) 2:09:54, 2; Galen Rupp (United States) 2:10.05, 3.

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