Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana smashed the world record to win the 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games / Photo credit: Getty Images for the IAAF

Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana smashed the world record to win the 10,000m on first day of athletics at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, clocking 29:17.45 to win the first athletics gold medal of the Games.

The race was fast from the outset with Kenya’s Alice Aprot Nawowuna setting the early pace, taking the field through 3000m in 8:52 and 5000m in 14:46, indicating a finishing time well inside 30 minutes.

Almaz Ayana soon took over the lead and increased the pace, opening up a gap on world champion Vivian Cheruiyot. It soon became clear that she was operating at world record pace, while her pursuers were also on course for huge lifetime bests.

Ayana eventually crossed the finish line in 29:17.45 to take more than 14 seconds off the world record set by Wang Junxia in 1993.

Kenya’s world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, bronze medallist from London 2012, took silver in a national record of 29:32.53 and 2012 Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba sets a lifetime best of 29:42.56 to take bronze.

Reigning African 10000m champion and 2015 African Games champion, Alice Aprot Nawowuna took fourth in a PB 29:53.51, with fellow Kenyan Betsy Saina fifth in a lifetime best of 30:07.78.

The first four women to finish now stand first, third, fourth and fifth on the world all-time list for the event.

There were national records for Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya), and Diane Nukuri (Burundi).