NAIROBI (HAN) August 14.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. Kenyan Jemima Jelagat Sumgong won gold in the women’s marathon on Sunday in two hours, 24 minutes and four seconds after an aggressive and pre-planned surge in the final kilometers, becoming the first Kenyan woman to take the title.
Bahrain’s Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa claimed silver in 2:24:13 and Ethiopian Mare Dibaba snatched the bronze in 2:24:30.
Sumgong, 31, bided her time throughout the race, staying with the leading pack and not moving ahead until the end.
“I had prepared that I would move out at kilometer 35 and my body was responding very well, as well as my movement,” Sumgong told reporters after crossing the line at Rio’s Sambadrome, the parade ground where brightly costumed samba schools perform during the city’s annual Carnival celebration. “At the 40 kilometer I knew the gold was mine.”
“It was very hot but everybody had to get through the heat. I had to control my body and listen to my body very carefully,” Sumgong said.
Belarusian Volha Mazuronak, 27, shook up the pack halfway through, taking the lead and briefly pulling ahead of the lead group.
The move pushed the pace, stringing out what had been a lead pack of more than two dozen runners, causing some to drop back.
It was the first in a series of attacks by the first-time Olympian, who was ultimately unable to sustain the pace and was dropped by the leaders in the closing stages before finishing fifth in 2:24:48. (Editing by Ed Osmond)