Defending champion Dibaba settles for bronze; Bahamas takes men’s 4x400m gold
Athens Games champion Meseret Defar of Ethiopia reclaimed the women’s 5000m title with a sparkling finish, clocking 15:04.25 on Friday.
“I have won the gold again after eight years. It is a great achievement,’’ said the 28-year-old Defar.
Defar beat the defending champion and compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, who lacked the energy in the end. Defar got past Dibaba in the final bend and pulled through, even as World champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya followed suit to overtake Dibaba with about 25 metres to go and take the silver at 15:04.73.
“I am disappointed with bronze. My target was to make a double here as I did in Beijing, but my injuries denied me from achieving that,’’ said Dibaba.
In men’s pole vault, Renaud Lavillenie of France bettered the Olympic record to take the gold with a vault of 5.97 metres that matched his season’s best.
Bjorn Otto of Germany was second with a vault of 5.91 metres, ahead of compatriot Raphael Holzdeppe on the count-back after a tie.
Defending champion and former World champion Steven Hooker of Australia failed to register a height after three attempts at 5.65 metres.
In women’s 1500 metres, two-time World champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain was beaten by two women from Turkey, Asli Cakir Alptekin and Gamze Bulut, who ran away with the gold and silver.
It was the first Olympic gold medal for Turkey. Alptekin clocked 4:10.23s as she held on after taking the lead with 250 metres to the finish.
Jamal was third in 4:10.74, and it was Bahrain’s first-ever Olympic medal. Rashid Ramzi had crossed the line first in men’s 1500 metres in Beijing but was later disqualified and stripped of his gold medal for a doping violation.
“We came here to take the gold and silver. It is like gaining two gold medals. This is the Turkish power,’’ said Alptekin.
“I have won a lot of medals, but this bronze is second to none. It was really a beautiful moment for me,’’ said Yusuf Jamal.
Bahamas beat the US to take the men’s 4x400m relay gold, as Ramon Muller beat hurdler Angelo Taylor in the last 30 metres.
Bahamas, with Chris Brown running the first leg, followed by Demetrius Pinder and Michael Mathieu, clocked a national record 2:56.72 seconds.
Without the Beijing Games champion LaShawn Merritt, who was injured in the heats, and Manteo Mitchell who had fractured his leg in the semifinals, the US quartet of Bryshon Nellum, Joshua Mance, Tony McQuay and Taylor was not at its best.
Trinidad and Tobago beat Britain on the final leg to take the bronze in 2:59.40. “The country was looking for a medal,’’ said Chris Brown. “We are a little axe and America is a giant tree. We have done it.’’