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1ST LEAD Sumgong gets Kenya's first Olympic women's marathon gold By Ulrike John and John Bagratuni, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Jemima Sumgong pulled away from Bahrain‘s Eunice Kirwa and avoided a protester on the last kilometre to become the first Olympic women‘s marathon champion from Kenya on Sunday.

The London Marathon winner from April triumphed in 2 hours 24 minutes 4 seconds in the Sambadrome venue on a sunny and hot morning for what was also Kenya‘s first gold at the Rio Games.

Kenya-born Asian Games champion Kirwa trailed by nine seconds at the finish for silver. The reigning world champion Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia took bronze, 26 seconds off the pace.

Sumgong made her decisive move just before the last kilometre but then had to overcome a scary moment when a protester ran into the course.

He was however swiftly cut of by motorbike policemen and Sumgong could continue unharmed and unhindered to the finish line although it appeared as if another person was also intercepted on the course by police officers.

"I was scared," said Sumgong who also faced a protester at the London race.

At the 2004 Games in Athens Brazil‘s Vanderlei de Lima was attacked in leading position by notorious Irish priest Cornelius Horan, who jumped onto the course and pushed De Lima off the track. De Lima had to settle for bronze as a result but in Rio was chosen to light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Sunday‘s final contenders came from a previously seven-strong leader group of seven which was broken late in the classic 42.195-kilometre distance through the streets of Rio.

"I was never worried that I‘d lose this. At the 40km I knew the gold was mine," said Sumgong who had missed a medal in fourth at last year‘s worlds in Beijing.

"There were three of us but I knew whatever happened I couldn‘t lose the gold and then I knew I was on the way to history."

The race had received plenty of attention in the buildup over the presence of Estonian triplets Liina, Leila and Lily Luik.

But Liina didn‘t finish while Lily was 20 minutes off the pace in 97th place and Leila 114th, half an hour behind the winners.

"It was so hard. I saw everybody stopping and everybody suffered," Lily Luik said.

The German Hahner twins Anna and Lisa did slightly better, finishing hand in hand in 81st and 82nd place.

But they were all upstaged by a pair of North Korean twins Kim Hye Song and Kim Hye Gyong who placed 10th and 11th respectively from 133 finishers.

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