Dibaba demolish Kenyan rivals, Okagbare soars to new heights - London 2012 Day 1

Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) celebrates after winning the 10,000m women Gold at the London 2012 Olympics / Photo Credit: LOCOG

Tirunesh Dibaba won the much anticipated women's 10,000m and Ethiopia's first gold medal of the London 2012 Olympics Games last night in a stunning fashion whilst Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare stormed to a new PB in the women's 100m 1st Round.

Dibaba, who had been injured for a long time, retained her Olympic title in 30 minutes 20.75 seconds, the fastest time of the year.

Kenyans 2011 World silver medallist, Sally Kipyego and World Champion Vivian Cheruiyot took the silver and bronze medals respectively with personal bests of 30:26.37 and 30:30.44.

"I was injured for a long time, so I didn't even expect to run at these Olympic Games," she stated at the post-race press conference.

"I wasn't that confident about what I could expect from my performance, so there was a lot of pressure. So I'm happy to get this gold medal. When Ethiopia sent me here, they only wanted me to win gold."  

When asked why she decided to break away from the pack, she said: "We (the three Ethiopian runners) wanted to have a fast race. Then I planned to run away in the last 600 metres. Because it was a fast race, most of the other competitors were too tired to follow me."

She also hinted that she will run the 5000m race for which she is currently entered as a reserve. "I will rest tonight and I will try to have some light training tomorrow and then I'll prepare for the race," she added.

The Ethiopian gold medallist equalled the feat of her cousin Derartu Tulu, who won in Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000, as the only woman to have won two gold medals in the event since it came into the Olympic programme in Seoul 1988.

Defeated World champion, Vivian Cheruiyot was not too disturbed about the race, choosing instead to focus on the 5000m next.

"I want to say that I'm really disappointed but I am not going to give up on gold in the 5000m here in London," said Cheruiyot.

"I am ready for the 5000m. I'll get a bit of rest between today and the race. Everybody is tired but I am ready to run and to have my best performance on the track."

"When I ran in Doha (at the 2012 Diamond League meeting) I felt a small injury; but I was training very well in Kenya and I know (Tirunesh) Dibaba is a very tough lady and everyone has her day. And she had it today."

New heights

Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria cruised to a new personal best time of 10.93 to win her 1st round heat and qualified for the women's 100m semi-final here at the Olympic Stadium in London this afternoon on a day when other Nigerian athletes did not fare too well.

Okagbare led compatriot Gloria Asumnu, who also qualified for the semis after coming through in a season's best 11.13secs for third place in her heat. However, Oludamola Osayomi failed to qualify as the 11.36 secs clocking from her heat was not enough to carry her through to the next round.

After the race, Okagbare said she's excited to be at the London 2012 Olympic Games and that the "track is amazing and so fast".

"I'm just excited. I'm hoping everything will fall in place. Gold is anybody's and I'm going to do my best," she added.

When asked about her new hairstyle, Okagbare says she "wanted to try something different. People seem to like it."

In the women's 400m, African Championships silver medallist, Regina George won her heat in 51.24secs to qualify for the Semi-final. Despite fading badly in the latter stages of her heat, Omolara Omotosho with 52.11secs joined George in tomorrow's semis as one of the fastest losers.

Also in the men's 400m hurdles, African Champion Amaechi Morton qualified for the semi-finals finishing third in his heat in 49.34 secs.

Commenting on his performance, Amaechi Morton said: "I felt good, I felt strong. I lost momentum when I hit the hurdle, feeling good though. I look forward to tomorrow (for the semifinals)."

"I had a good (African) championships, this is my first race since then. So far it's fair to say it's a good season," he added.

Unlike other events that had been played out in front of empty stadia since the start of the Games last week, the Olympic Stadium was full for the first morning session of Athletics on Friday.

IAAF President Lamine Diack said on Friday morning: "It was wonderful to arrive at the Olympic Games this morning and see a totally packed stadium for the first session of athletics.

"I do not remember the last time this happened and it shows the great affection Britain has for our sport. LOCOG has done a great job and we are excited about the rest of the athletics programme, since the athletes will definitely be inspired by crowds like this."

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