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Bekele Wins Olympic Distance Double Golds
    2008-08-23 21:03:19     Xinhua

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia set a new Olympic record in the men's 5,000-meter race to win the gold medal on Saturday at the Beijing Olympic Games.

The 26-year-old Ethiopian distance runner finished in 12 minutes and 57.82 seconds to refresh the 24-year-old Olympic record created by Morocco's Said Aouita at the Los Angeles Games.

The new record also gave him the second gold medal in the Beijing Olympic Games after winning the men's 10,000m.

"It's very special for me. It's not easy to achieve this after so much effort," said Bekele. "I'm feeling good. It was a fantastic race. It was a fantastic day for me. It was very special."

The gold medalist said his plan was to pick up the pace very fast. "It was a very fast race," he added.

Bekele, the silver medalist at the Athens Games in 5,000m, also became the second Ethiopian after Miruts Yifter to achieve the 5,000m and 10,000m double. Yifter made the feat at the Moscow Games, 1980.

By winning double gold medals in the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, Bekele confirmed his status as the world's best long and middle-distance runner.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, bronze medalist at Athens Games, finished in 13:02.80 to get the silver medal.

"I am quite satisfied. This is the last event for Kenya. So I'm happy to represent my country," said Kipchoge.

"If we were at the same position in the last lap, maybe I could have caught up with him. I expected myself to get the gold medal, but I lost it and he was faster," the Kenyan said.

Kipchoge's fellowman Edwin Cheruiyot Soi gained his seasonal best result of 13:06.22 to win the bronze medal.

"I am feeling very happy about getting a season best. I'm proud that we Kenyans did a really good job," he said.

Bernard Lagat of the United States, the world champion last year, finished ninth.

 
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