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Jelimo becomes Kenya's golden girl
Pamela Jelimo becomes the first Kenyan woman to win a Olympics athletics gold.
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2008 16:03 GMT

Pamela Jelimo joins Kenya's gold winning men [GALLO/GETTY]
Kenyan teenager Pamela Jelimo added a golden lustre to her all-conquering season when she won the women's Olympic 800 metres in great style.

The 18-year-old, who began running the 800 only this year, has ruled the race in the big European meetings this year and was in unstoppable form after hitting the front at halfway.

She drove home to win easily in one minute 54.87 seconds ahead of team mate Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei, with Morocco's Hasna Benhassi taking bronze.

Jepkosgei led off a hard 55-second lap first, enough even for a world record, and Jelimo took control on the second last as she powered down the back stretch to put the race away.

Historic win

Given Kenya's stunning reputation in distance running it was perhaps surprising that with her victory, Jelimo became the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic athletics gold.

Notably absent from Monday's final was Russia's Yelena Soboleva, the fastest woman over the 800m this year, after she and six other Russian athletes were banned on the eve of the Olympics for doping in what the International Olympic Committee said was a case of systematic doping.

If Soboleva's times are discounted, Jelimo ran the six fastest 800m races this year and is the only one to have breached 1:56.

Her season best hit in Monday's Olympic final makes her the sixth fastest two-lapper of all time and the fastest in 11 years.

Mozambique's Maria Mutola, the event's 2000 champion, who was competing in her sixth Olympics and fifth Olympic final, finished fifth in a season best.

Source:
Agencies
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