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Bekele joins Dibaba in taking double gold

  • Story Highlights
  • Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele adds men's 5,000m to his 10,000m gold medal
  • Bekele emulates Ethiopian compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba by securing the double
  • Tia Hellebaut wins Belgium's first-ever women's track-and-field gold in high jump
  • American squads take victory in both the men's and women's 4x400m relays
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(CNN) -- Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele emulated female compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba in claiming a rare long-distance double when he won the Olympic men's 5000m to add to his 10,000m crown.

Bekele celebrates emulating Tirunesh Dibaba in securing the 5000m and 10,000m double in Beijing.

His triumph was the first men's double since compatriot Miruts Yifter's feat over the same events at the 1980 Moscow Games, while Dibaba's double over the same distance had been a landmark for the women.

Bekele, the world record holder in both the 5000m and 10,000m who claimed silver behind Hicham El Guerrouj in Athens 2004, won the 12-and-a-half lap race in hot and humid conditions in an Olympic record of 12 minutes 57.82 seconds.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, a bronze medallist behind El Guerrouj and Bekele four years ago, was second in 13:02.80 with Kenya's Edwin Soi third in 13:06.22.

Bekele, 26, hit the lead after just one lap of the race, alternating the early pace-setting with his younger brother Tariku and fellow-Ethiopian Abreham Cherkos.

With five laps to go, Bekele hit the front again with a little spurt that immediately thinned the pack and saw Kipchoge come through to secure second.

When the bell sounded for the final lap, Bekele stepped on the gas, building up an insurmountable 25-meter lead over Kipchoge down the far stretch.

Meanwhile, Kenya's Wilfred Bungei recorded an impressive gun to tape victory in the men's 800m final. Bungei, the 2006 world indoor champion who owns the fifth-fastest time in history, finished in 1:44.65, his best time of the year.

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Sudan's Ismail Ahmed Ismail, eighth in Athens in 2004, was second in 1:44.70 with Kenya's Alfred Kirwa Yego, the reigning world champion, third on 1:44.82.

"I came here as the underdog because of the times I ran so far this year," said the 28-year-old Bungei, who finished fifth in the Athens Games. "The race went well for me and I knew not to panic.

The race had been hit by the absence of Russia's defending champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy, and pre-race favorites Mbulaeni Mulauduzi of South Africa and Sudanese prodigy Abubaker Kaki, who all failed to qualify for the final.

Nancy Jebet Langat completed a great evening on the track for Kenya by outpacing reigning world champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal and the rest of the field to claim a shock Olympic gold in the women's 1,500m final on Saturday.

The relatively unknown Kenyan, who was 27 on Friday, produced a strong final 300 meters to win in a time of 4:00.23.

Ukraine's Iryna Lishchynska, the bronze medallist at last year's world championships in Osaka, was second in 4:01.63 with compatriot Nataliya Tobias third at 4:01.78.

Bahrain's Ethiopian-born Jamal was fifth after flagging badly in the final 50 meters, and failing to emulate her Bahraini team-mate Rashid Ramzi, who won the men's 1,500m earlier in the week.

Tia Hellebaut won Belgium's first-ever women's track-and-field gold medal by taking victory in the women's high jump after clearing 2.05 meters.

World indoor champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia finished second on the same height after missing three attempts at matching her career best height of 2.07. Russia's Anna Chicherova was third after clearing a height of 2.03 meters.

Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen won his second consecutive men's javelin title with an Olympic record throw of 90.57 meters.

Latvia's Ainars Kovals was second with 86.64m while Finland's Tero Pitkamaki, the reigning world champion, secured third with a throw of 86.16 meters.

The track and field program in Beijing was brought to a rousing conclusion with a double victory for the United States in the men's and women's 4 x 400 meters relays.

The golds offered a measure of redemption for the last leg runners for the U.S. with Sandra Richards just edging out Russia for a dramatic victory.


Jeremy Wariner, like Richards a hot favorite for individual gold only to fold in the home straight, anchored home his team to an easy victory in an Olympic record. Bahamas finished second with Russia third.

"We all just gave it our all and ran an Olympic record," Wariner said. "It was close to the world record, the fastest time since then. We have a lot more to come."

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