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El Guerrouj clinches double gold

El Guerrouj became the first male athlete since Paavo Nurmi in 1924 to pull off the Olympic Games 1500-5000m double on Saturday.
PTI | By Pirate Irwin (AFP), Athens
UPDATED ON AUG 29, 2004 12:24 PM IST

Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj became the first male athlete since Paavo Nurmi in 1924 to pull off the Olympic Games 1500-5000 metres double on Saturday.

The 29-year-old won the 5000 metres in 13 minutes 14.39 seconds to take his second gold of the Games and deprive Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia of the 10,000m-5,000m double.

The 22-year-old had to settle for silver in 13:14.59 while world champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya took bronze in 13:15.10.

"This is incredible on one side but on the other I always believed in myself," said El Guerrouj, the 1500m world record holder.

"After all that went on in Atlanta and Sydney this is a deserved reward but also unbelievable that I can win two Olympic gold medals in the space of five days.

"I was never very worried during the race and I knew entering the final lap that Bekele would try and kick away but I watched every move he made and ensured he would not slip away.

"This has been the most remarkable week of my life. I am very fortunate and blessed to experience such a thing as this."

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