Friday, 3 August 2012

Ethiopian Delivers Punishing Kick in 10,000-Meter Race

he fierce Kenyan-Ethiopian rivalry renewed itself Friday, and the result in the women’s Olympic 10,000 meters was as reliably predictable as it was four years ago: Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba again drew away with a punishing kick to win the gold medal and perhaps establish herself as history’s greatest female distance runner.On a cool night, Dibaba ran the year’s fastest time to win in 30 minutes 20.75 seconds. Sally Kipyego of Kenya (30:26.37) and Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya (30:30.44) ran their personal bests to take silver and bronze. They were the first Kenyan women to win Olympic medals in the 6.2-mile race. Still, they could not match the finishing speed of Dibaba, who won her third career gold medal, the most by any female distance runner.

On Friday, Dibaba moved to the front with about one and a quarter laps remaining in the 25-lap race, alert to Cheruiyot’s powerful kick, and ran the final lap in a searing 62.08 seconds, making the outcome inevitable.

Having regained her fitness after being injured much of the last two years, Dibaba, 27, will next attempt to win the 5,000 meters and repeat the double gold medals she won at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“I have never been happier,” Dibaba said. “I was not even that happy in Beijing. No one has ever done what I did today.”

Friday’s win did not match the Olympic record of 29.54.66 that Dibaba set in Beijing, but the victory became a stirring validation of her return to racing in the world’s biggest events.

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