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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Holmes clinches brilliant gold
Kelly Holmes celebrates gold
Great Britain's Kelly Holmes stormed to a sensational Olympic gold with a perfect piece of 800m running.

Holmes fought past reigning champion Maria Mutola in an epic duel over the last 80 metres to take Britain's first track gold of these Games.

Mutola was forced into fourth as the fast-finishing Hasna Benhassi and Jolanda Ceplak took silver and bronze.

Holmes said: "I can't believe it. I didn't realise I had won - I had to see the replay twice to be sure."

She was in last place after 300m but timed her run superbly to win her first global title in one minute 56.38 seconds.

Holmes is the first British woman to win an Olympic title on the track since Sally Gunnell in 1992, and the first since Ann Packer in 1964 to win the 800m crown.

It was Britain's seventh gold medal of the Athens Olympics.

"You have all those dreams beforehand, and then something always goes wrong," said Holmes.

"I've just wanted this for so long and dreamed about it all the time.

"I thought something would go wrong again. It was totally unreal.

"The lap of honour was amazing. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry."

The 34-year-old had taken bronze in Sydney four years ago but has seen her hopes of gold wrecked by injury on so many occasions.

She now has the chance to add to her 800m triumph when she goes in the 1500m - her stronger event - on Tuesday night.

Mutola, Holmes' great friend and training partner, went from second to fourth in the final strides of the race.

Holmes' British team-mate Jo Fenn went out at the semi-final stage.





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