Five years ago, marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge was the last athletics champion crowned at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
He replicated that performance on Sunday morning in Sapporo with another commanding run to become only the third man to successfully defend an Olympic marathon title.
In Rio, he waited until the 36th kilometre to break away. This time, his decisive move came in the 31st.
By the 38th, the Kenyan more closely resembled a solitary figure out on a morning training run than a man leading the Olympic marathon. He’d built a lead of more than one minute by that point, with no other runner within view.
Such was Eliud Kipchoge‘s dominance en route to his 2:08:38 triumph, his winning margin of 1:20 was the widest in an Olympic marathon since Frank Shorter’s win in 1972.
“I think I have fulfilled the legacy by winning the marathon for the second time, back-to-back. I hope now to help inspire the next generation,” said Kipchoge, who claimed gold ahead of Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands (2:09:58) and Belgium’s Bashir Abdi (2:10:00).
STAT OF THE DAY
More than 100 countries have now won Olympic medals in athletics, after India and Burkina Faso won their first medals in the Tokyo stadium, courtesy of superb performances by javelin star Neeraj Chopra and triple jump ace Hugues Fabrice Zango.
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World Athletics (formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations - IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics, such as running, jumping and throwing.