Marathon: Uganda's Kiprotich takes gold

Updated: Sunday, 12 Aug 2012 17:05

Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich stunned the Kenyan challenge to clinch a surprise Olympic gold medal in the marathon on The Mall today.

The 23-year-old burst past Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang around the 38-kilometre mark to leave his two rivals trailing and claim only Uganda's second ever Olympic gold in athletics.

Kiprotich followed in the footsteps of his compatriot John Akii-Bua, who was 400 metres hurdles champion 40 years ago, and crossed the line in 2:08.01.

Kirui took the silver, 26 seconds adrift, and long-time leader Kipsang finished with the bronze.

Ireland’s Mark Kenneally was 57th, 13 mins 12 secs off the pace.

"I felt good for the first 16 or 17 miles and then I just blew up, for whatever reason, “ Kenneally said.
"The last seven or eight miles were a struggle to get home. I’ll sit down and review what went wrong and try to put it right for the next time. It’s disappointing because you want to get your best one out in the Olympics.

"With two kilometres to go, I was really dizzy and thought that I was going to have to stop. At that point it was just damage limitation and trying to get to the finish. I was trying to run inside my personal best (2:13.55) and I’m in much better shape when I was when I ran that time. It’s not obvious to me right now what went wrong today.

"I got all my drinks and I did not go out too fast. I’ll think about it and try to move forward from the disappointment. It’s great to have the Olympic experience and everything but I want to perform on this stage. Hopefully, in four years time I can still be around and make this right."

Kipsang, the London Marathon winner, made an early move to try to break up the lead group, building a 21-second lead at one point.

It was a high-risk strategy in such warm conditions, though, and he paid for it as the race went on as he started to look less and less comfortable.

He missed a drinks stop and by the 25km mark his advantage was down to seven seconds.

Kenyan world champion Kirui and Kiprotich soon joined the leader to make it a three-way battle for the gold medal.

Kiprotich looked to be starting to struggle, holding the back of his leg, but he suddenly produced a big surge, leapt to the front and pulled away.

And in front of packed crowds rows deep all along the looped central London course, the Ugandan, who moved to Kenya as a teenager to train, started smiling and pointing his finger into the air as he closed in on victory before draping himself in the Ugandan flag as he crossed the line.