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Saturday, August 23, 2008
Ethiopia's Bekele wins 5,000 meters for men's distance double

Associated Press

BEIJING -- Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia has won the 5,000 meters in an Olympic record to complete a distance double at the Beijing Games.

Bekele, who had already successfully defended his 10,000 title, won Saturday's 5,000-meter final in 12 minutes, 57.82 seconds.

Kenyans won silver and bronze, with Eliud Kipchoge second in 13:02.80 and Edwin Cheryiyot Soi finishing third in 13:06.22.

World champion Bernard Lagat of the United States finished 9th.

It was the second double here for Ethiopia after Tirunesh Dibaba won an unprecedented women's 5,000-10,000 combination.

A three-time world champion at 10,000, Bekele just missed a double at the Athens 2004 Olympics when he got the 10,000 gold and finished second to Moroccan great Hicham El Guerrouj in the 5,000.

Wilfred Bungei of Kenya won the men's 800 meters, nearly leading wire-to-wire and crossing the finish line 1 minute, 44.65 seconds.

Ismail Ahmed Ismail of Sudan took silver in 1:44.70 and reigning world champion Alfred Yego of Kenya got the bronze at 1:44.82.

Defending champion Yuri Borzakovsky, world indoor champion Abubaker Kaki and Olympic silver medalist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi all failed to make the final.

In the women's 1,500 meters, Nancy Jebet Langat of Kenya pulled away on the last turn for a gold medal.

Langat followed world champion Maryam Jamal of Bahrain in a breakaway with 500 meters to go and overtook her coming into the last bend, pulling away to win the final in 4 minutes, 0.23 seconds.

Ukrainians got the silver and bronze medals, with Iryna Lyshchynska second in 4:01.63 and Nataliya Tobias third in 4:01.78.

Jamal faded to finish fifth, losing three places in the last 50 meters.

Yelena Soboleva, who set a world indoor 1,500-meter record earlier this year, was provisionally suspended for a suspected anti-doping violation and dropped from the Russian Olympic team.

In field events Saturday, Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway successfully defended his Olympic javelin title in a Games record.

Thorkildsen set the Olympic record of 90.57 (297-1) with his fourth throw in Saturday's final, beating Jan Zelezny's mark of 90.17 at Sydney 2000.

Ainars Kovals of Latvia moved two places into the silver medal position with his final attempt of 86.64 meters (284-3), relegating world champion Tero Pitkamaki of Finland to the bronze medal at 86.16 (282-8).

In women's high jump, Tia Hellebaut of Belgium won gold in an upset over Blanka Vlasic of Croatia.

Hellebaut, the world indoor pentathlon champion, also beat Vlasic for the European high jump title two years ago. This time, she cleared 2.05 meters (6 feet, 8¾ inches) on her first attempt to win the gold medal on Saturday.

World champion Vlasic had the eight best marks of the season coming into the Olympics and didn't miss at any heights Saturday until her first go at 2.05 meters, which she cleared on her second attempt. She finished with silver.

Anna Chicherova of Russia took bronze at 2.03 meters (6-7¾).

Russia's Elena Slesarenko, the 2004 Athens gold medalist and two-time world indoors champion, was fourth at 2.01 (6-7).