Wanjiru takes marathon gold

Samuel Wanjiru gives Kenya first Olympic marathon win on final day of Beijing games.

    Wansiru crosses the finish line to win Kenya's first ever marathon gold [GALLO/GETTY]

    Ethiopian Deriba Merga had led the field for much of the race but faded at the end to wind up fourth.

    Several of the favourites failed to cope with the sweltering Beijing heat, among them defending Olympic champion Stefano Baldini of Italy.

    The marthon course took runners past some of Beijing's most famous sights [GALLO/GETTY]
    Baldini fell well behind early on as he failed to find the spark that took him to gold in Athens four years ago

    The Italian eventually finished 12th.

    World record holder, Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie, opted out of the Beijing marathon earlier this year citing concerns about Beijing's notorious air pollution.

    But an overnight thunderstorm had cleared the air by Sunday morning, providing a clear blue sky for the final day of the Beijing games.

    The race saw some clear leaders pull away from the pack early on, and by the halfway mark, eight were grouped at the front, led by Eritrean Yonas Kifle.

    At 30 kilometres the frontrunners had dwindled to three - Wanjiru, Merga and Gharib – while Kenya's Luke Kibet, the reigning world champion, fell back after having stayed with the leaders through the early stages.

    Kibet eventually pulled out of the race, saying later he had a stomach problem.

    By the final two kilometres Wanjiru had opened up an unassailable 18 second lead, entering the Bird's Nest stadium to a standing ovation from the capacity crowd.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.