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Kemboi chases gold before big switch

Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi set aside thoughts of an assault charge he faces at home to regain his Olympic men's 3,000 metres steeplechase title and extend Kenyan dominance in the event.

india Updated: Aug 07, 2012 01:32 IST
Kenya-s-Ezekiel-Kemboi-celebrates-after-the-men-s-3000m-steeplechase-final-at-the-athletics-event-during-the-London-2012-Olympic-Games-in-London--AFP-Photo-Christophe-Simon
Kenya-s-Ezekiel-Kemboi-celebrates-after-the-men-s-3000m-steeplechase-final-at-the-athletics-event-during-the-London-2012-Olympic-Games-in-London--AFP-Photo-Christophe-Simon

Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi set aside thoughts of an assault charge he faces at home to regain his Olympic men's 3,000 metres steeplechase title and extend Kenyan dominance in the event.

The 2004 champion made the most of defending champion and compatriot Brimin Kipruto falling on the penultimate lap to sprint clear and win in 8 minutes, 18.56 seconds late on Sunday.

Frenchman Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, a good friend of Kemboi, took silver and Kenya's Abel Mutai won bronze. Flamboyant twice world champion Kemboi was accused in June of stabbing a woman in Kenya and the incident remained unresolved coming into the Games.

Kemboi, a police officer, has rejected the accusation and Kenya's Olympic Committee (NOCK) cleared him to run in London, saying he was innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. Kemboi exchanged his vest with Mekhissi-Benabbad and jumped on the Frenchman to celebrate before announcing he was switching to marathon.

“I have two Olympic titles, two world titles and one Commonwealth title. That is enough,” he told reporters. Kenya have won men's steeplechase gold at every Games since 1984.

Sanya claims 400
Sanya Richards-Ross of the United States won the women's 400m title, clocking 49.55 seconds. Britain's defending champion Christine Ohuruogu snatched silver by 0.02 seconds from American DeeDee Trotter in 49.70. Richard-Ross, 27, who has overcome a series of health problems, has 4x400 relay golds from 2004 and 2008 but this was her first individual title.

Pars nails hammer
Hungary's Krisztian Pars added the Olympic hammer throw title to the European crown he won last month, with a throw of 80.59m. Slovenia's defending champion Primoz Kozmus took silver (79.36m) and Japan's Koji Murofushi, the 2004 Olympic champion and reigning world champion, the bronze (78.71m).

Rypakova wins triple
Kazakhstan's Olga Rypakova produced a season's best leap to win the women's triple jump. The 27-year-old former heptathlete and long jumper produced 14.98m to see off Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia (14.80). Ukraine's world and double European champion Olha Saladuha took bronze (14.79).

Pistorius eliminated
Oscar Pistorius failed in his bid to reach the 400m final when the South African double-amputee finished last in his semis. Pistorius, who races wearing carbon fibre prosthetic blades after being born without a fibula in both legs, is the first double-amputee to run in the Games. He was given a rapturous welcome on to the track, but the pace was too hot for him.

Immediately after finishing, heat winner and world champion Kirani James, the 19-year-old Grenadian, swapped his pinned-on name label with Pistorius as the two men embraced. "He's an inspiration for all of us, it's an honour competing against that guy. What he does takes a lot of courage. He's a great individual and it's time we see him like that and not anything else."

Pistorius said: "It was very kind of him. We share a similar life and it's what the Olympics is all about.”

Powell out of relay
Jamaica's 4x100 metres relay team has suffered a setback after tests showed former world record holder Asafa Powell has a minor muscle tear that will probably keep him out of the race, his manager told Reuters on Monday.

“An ultrasound showed he has a minor tear in his adductor muscle,” Paul Doyle said. “It is very unlikely he will be ready to go in the relay in a few days.”

Powell anchored the Jamaicans to a world record in the relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But he was missing through injury when a team of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt setthe record to 37.04s at world championships in South Korea.