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Published: Mon, August 15, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Jemima Sumgong becomes first Kenyan to win women's marathon gold medal

Jemima Sumgong becomes first Kenyan to win women's marathon gold medal

The first medal of Sunday's schedule also happened to be the first gold medal ever won by a Kenyan woman in the marathon event, even with the nation's elite standing as a distance-running powerhouse.

African runners have now won two straight Olympic women's marathons after the title was held by runners from Asia and Europe.

About five demonstrators were seen climbing over barriers to get onto the course in front of victor Jemima Sumgong of Kenya and other leaders about two kilometers (1.5 miles) from the end.

Bahrain's Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa won the silver medal nine seconds off the victor, and Ethiopia's Mare Dibaba took bronze, 26 seconds back.

Philippine bet Mary Joy Tabal has yet to cross the finish line as of posting.

Sumgong admitted, however, that she knew victory was hers with 2km to run, saying it made up for her disappointing showing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"I was never anxious that I'd lose this". "At the 40km mark I knew the gold was mine".

Jemima Sumgong becomes first Kenyan to win women's marathon gold medal
Jemima Sumgong becomes first Kenyan to win women's marathon gold medal

Reigning world champion Mare Dibaba settled for third in 2:24:30.

Sumgong, 31, bided her time throughout the race, staying with the leading pack and not moving ahead until the end. "Sumgong dominated that race mentally as well as physically".

The field would further be reduced after 30km with to the Dibaba hitting to the front of a group comprising, Tsegaye, Sumgong, Chelimo, Kirwa, Muzoronak as well as Shalane Flanagan of the US.

For a large part of the race, there was a lead pack of 15.

Jemima Jelagat Sumgong, of Kenya, celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the womens marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016.

Volha Mazuronak of Belarus shook free of a pack of about two dozen runners 13 miles into the race and briefly took the lead.

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