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Perseverance pays off for Neumannova

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 16:30

Perseverance pays off for Neumannova

Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic won the gold medal that had eluded her at five previous Olympic Games when she triumphed in the women's cross-country skiing 30-km freestyle on Friday.

The 33-year-old, racing in the final race of what will almost certainly be her last Games, beat 1998 champion Julija Tchepalova of Russia in a sprint for the line.

Neumannova had previously taken four silvers and a bronze at the Olympics but had never won gold.

Polish outsider Justyna Kowalczyk, who came back from a doping ban just before the Games started, took a surprise bronze while Estonia's Kristina Smigun of Estonia failed in her bid for a third gold medal.